Centre to take over MCI reins

The ordinance, Deccan Herald has learnt, paves the way for creating a seven-member board of governors for the MCI to run the council on a day-to-day basis for the next one year.

The ordinance will be valid for one year because the government is expected to take a decision on whether to bring the MCI within the ambit of the National Council for Human Resources in Health under the Health Ministry or in the National Commission on Higher Education and Research under the Human Resource Development Ministry.

Once the ordinance is signed by the President — it was sent to Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday night — the Centre will select the seven board members who will manage the council.

After MCI president Ketan Desai’s arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation on April 11, the government opted for the ordinance route rather than handing over the reins to MCI vice president Kesavankutty Nayar, apprehending a rerun of 2001 when Desai ran the show from behind despite not being the MCI president, thanks to a Delhi High Court directive.

Sources said Nayar was a staunch supporter of Desai who not only protected him since 2001 but was also instrumental in Desai’s re-election as the MCI president last year through a botched-up election in which nobody ran against Desai.

The government is not in favour of bringing any amendments to the Indian Medical Council Act of 1956 till the Prime Minister takes a decision on which new commission will subsume the MCI as well as other councils in the healthcare sector.

Union Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad stated in the Rajya Sabha last week that he did not have legal options to clean up the MCI.

The cleansing act can be done only after the law is amended giving more power to the government. Many MPs, however, oppose the idea on the ground that it would ruin the council’s autonomy.

Since the legal route is a time-consuming process, the Health Ministry took the ordinance route following pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office to bring openness and transparency in the tainted council that regulates medical education in India.

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