August 21, 2010

Bill to replace Medical Council of India board with panel of doctors

A bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha today to amend the Medical Council of India Act to replace the existing board of the Medical Council of India (MCI), facing corruption charges, with a seven-member panel of eminent doctors.

The corruption-ridden MCI, set up 76 years ago to regulate medical education in the country, has already been dissolved through an ordinance in May this year.

A six-member panel of doctors, led by gastro-enterologist SK Sarin, has replaced its board of governors.

Introducing the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2010, health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said certain events in April had evoked public demand for immediate action.

One suggestion was bringing in an altogether new body. Another idea was to amend the MCI Act, 1956.

The amendment bill deems that the MCI shall stand superseded and the president, vice-president and other members of the council shall vacate their offices and have no claim for any compensation.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.

MCI president Ketan Desai was arrested on April 22 by the CBI for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs2 crore to give permission to a Punjab medical college to recruit a fresh batch of students without having requisite infrastructure.

The MCI was established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1933, now repealed, with the main function of establishing uniform standards of higher qualifications in medicine and recognition of medical institutions in India and abroad.

In 1956, the old Act was repealed and a new one enacted.

Opposing the amendment bill, Prabodh Panda (CPI) said this is an attempt to encroach on the rights of autonomous institutions. The government plans to bring the MCI under the proposed National Council for Health Research.

Congress member Chintamani said MCI was only helping the profit-making colleges. "It had become the money-making council of India," he added.

Link: Original Article

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