Parliament nod to bill to replace scam-ridden MCI

Parliament nod to bill to replace scam-ridden MCI

The amendment was aimed at restoring the credibility of the apex body of medical education, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said replying to the debate in the Rajya Sabha on the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill.

Azad said MCI, set up 76 years ago to regulate medical education in the country, was dissolved through an ordinance in May in the wake of corruption charges. Emphasising on the need for setting up private medical colleges, he said it required around Rs 150 to Rs 200 crore to set up a medical college and the recurring expenditure was around Rs 35 crore per year.

"If the central and the state governments do not help these colleges financially, it would be wrong to think that they would not charge capitation fee," the Minister said. At this, Brinda Karat (CPI-M) charged Azad with justifying capitation fee.

"I am not justifying capitation fee. The issue has to be flagged and solution found. No medical colleges are coming up in public sector. Government and Parliament have to think on it..." he said.

The amendment bill, already passed by Lok Sabha, deems that the MCI shall stand superseded and the president, vice-president and other members of the council shall vacate their offices and not claim any compensation.

It says the council shall be reconstituted within a period of one year from the date of supersession. Until a new council is constituted, the board of governors shall exercise the powers and perform the functions of the council under the new bill.

"A new bill will come up in the next session and we will allay the apprehensions of the members," he said, adding whatever is the form of the new bill, there will be representatives from state governments.

Referring to the work of the Board of Governors after it came into existence replacing the Medical Council of India Board, Azad said it reviewed 88 recommendations for recognition to medical colleges by the erstwhile Council besides 12 pending cases.

MCI president Ketan Desai was arrested on April 22 by the CBI for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 2 crore to give permission to a Punjab medical college to recruit a fresh batch of students without having requisite infrastructure.

Azad referred to a shortage of around 5.5 lakh doctors in the country and listed the efforts taken by the government to deal with the situation.

Azad said concessions were given by his ministry for setting up medical colleges, the norms were made liberal and efforts are being made to increase the number of post- graduates by 10,000 in the next 3 years.

He said the teacher student ratio in post-graduate courses was 1:1 in India which is being increased to 1:2 to facilitate more post-graduates in medicine and surgery. Participating in the debate, Gyan Prakash Pilania (BJP) said the government should enhance the budgetary allocation to health to 3 per cent of the GDP instead of present 1.06 per cent.

Vijaylaxmi Sadho (Cong) said the country was facing dearth of medical professionals and adequate steps were needed to fill both medical and para medical posts.
Leading institutes like Ram Manohar Lohia and Central Institute of Psychiatry faced shortage of doctors while a large number of posts were vacant, she said.

Naresh Agarwal (BSP) said MCI should not be given the powers of an autonomous body and added that fresh norms are required for medical colleges. Brinda Karat (CPI-M) opposed the bill saying it diluted the federal structure.

P Rajeeve (CPI-M), Pyarimohan Mohapatra (BJD), Rajniti Prasad (RJD), Janardhan Waghmare (NCP), K P Ramalingam (DMK), Paul Manoj Pandian (AIADMK), Y S Chodary (TDP), Syed Azeez Pasha (CPI), Viplove Thakur (Cong), Bimla Kashyap Sood (BJP), Ram Kripal Yadav (RJD) and Praveen Rashtrapal (Congress) also participated in the debate.

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