June 10, 2010

New MCI board to reassess all previous clearances

The six-member governing body of Medical Council of India (MCI) has decided to reassess all permissions granted to 79 medical colleges by the earlier regime regarding recognition of the institutes, starting new courses or increasing seats in existing ones.

A special team of 43 assessors, chosen from seven top central government medical institutes -- many of whom are well-known professors -- has been put together to inspect these medical colleges, wanting to either start an MBBS course or having applied for re-recognition of their MBBS degree.

The permanent inspectors who till now did the job for MCI have stepped down.

The governing body has finalised guidelines for the assessors to carry out inspections of colleges. A baseline datasheet has also been sent to all medical colleges which will have to be filled by the colleges and sent to the governing body.

MCI, which was established 76 years ago, was dissolved last month and replaced by a six-member panel after the CBI on April 22 arrested the then MCI president Dr Ketan Desai for taking a bribe of Rs 2 crore to grant recognition to a medical college in Punjab though it did not meet MCI standards.

The new governing panel is headed by Dr S K Sarin and includes Prof Ranjit Roy Chowdhary, Dr Sita Naik, Dr Gautam Sen, Dr Devi Shetty and Dr R L Salhan.

The new governing body has been authorised by the health ministry to both inspect and garnt recognition to medical colleges for the next one year under Section 10A of the MCI Act 1956.

Till now, it was the sole duty of MCI to inspect medical colleges for adequate infrastructure, equipment and faculty. Based on this inspection report, MCI recommended to the ministry whether to grant the college recognition or not.

But for the next year, the ministry will not be responsible for recognising colleges. It will be the sole responsibility of the six-member panel to both inspect and recognise all new medical colleges or old ones wanting re-recognition.

Dr Sarin said, "We will finish our task of assessing, approving or disapproving of new colleges and renewal of permission for colleges already approved for undergraduate courses well before the July 15 deadline. The same time will also be needed to go through all applications for the 14,897 postgraduate seats."

He added, "The 43 assessors were randomly chosen and through computer generated random numbering assigned the duty of inspecting colleges. They will submit their assessment reports by June 16. We will then evaluate individual files before reaching our decision."

Earlier, health secretary K Sujatha Rao said, "This committee is not in an advisory role but will actively look to run MCI, including issuing licences and permissions, conducting inspections and regulating medical education, for a maximum of one year. They will also suggest how to reform MCI which will help in preparing the bill which we plan to introduce in the monsoon session of Parliament."

Meanwhile, health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has asked the new board of governors to ensure transparency in the process of granting recognition to medical colleges and to be beware of touts. He wrote to Dr Sarin recently, "The decisions to be taken by the board of governors should be free, fair and without fear."

Link: Original Article

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