Ordinance on MCI to be sent to Prez

 The draft was finalised in a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday evening, sources told Deccan Herald.

In all probability, the ordinance would be sent to President Pratibha Patil for her assent on Monday after which it will be notified.

Though the Union Cabinet headed by Singh broadly agreed on the ordinance on Thursday, it was not sent to the President, as there were still some loose ends, which were pointed out by some Cabinet members. The Friday meeting, sources said, was meant to tie up those ends.

The ordinance will allow the Union health ministry to create a seven-member board of governors, which will run the council on a day to day basis for the next one year with the aim of cleaning up the organisation and restoring its credibility.

Desai has already submitted his resignation from the post of MCI chief. On Friday, a Delhi court extended Desai’s judicial custody by another 14 days. Desai and three of his associates were arrested by the CBI on April 22.

Earlier this month Azad informed the Parliament that the government could hardly act on the MCI at the moment because there were only eight Central Government nominees in the 120-member MCI.

In addition, the Indian Medical Council Act 1956 barely provided scope for the Centre to intervene in MCI affairs as the inquiry and punishment provisions in the Act were not appropriate, he had stated. The ordinance, now proposed by the government, is a stop-gap measure till the government takes a decision on where to put MCI as well as dental and nursing councils in the new higher education architecture.

There is no decision yet on whether to bring MCI (and other medical councils) 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.

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