July 05, 2011

CET, UG curriculum test for new MCI panel

The new five-member governing body (GB) of Medical Council of India (MCI) will meet for the first time on Wednesday.

The earlier board's tenure ended on May 15. The biggest challenge for the new board, headed by noted cardiologist Dr K K Talwar — a well-known figure in AIIMS' corridors and former director of PGI Chandigarh — is to implement the Common Entrance Test (CET) for undergraduate students and the new medical curriculum.

Some members of the former GB fear that the move could get thwarted.

"We have submitted all the documents to the ministry, including the revised undergraduate curriculum, CET, post-graduate regulations, codes on medical ethics, accreditation and the concept of Indian Medical Graduate. At least some of them should see the light of day," an ex-member of GB said.

The member added, "A lot of work went into developing India's new medical curriculum and syllabi. About 250 people worked on it, and we had as many as seven working groups."

TOI was the first to report in April that the ministry would change all the members of MCI. Last Friday, the ministry named Dr Talwar as the new chairman of the all-powerful board of governors.

Other members include Prof K S Sharma from Tata Memorial Hospital, Prof Harbhajan Singh Rassam from Max Hospital, Dr Rajiv Chintaman Yeravdekar from Symbiosis International University and Dr Purushotham Lal, chairman of Metro Hospital.

Dr Talwar told TOI, "I need some time to decide about our main issues."

Sources said the ministry was upset with the Sarin-led GB's pace of work. It had supposedly failed to increase the number of post-graduate medical seats to the "desired level" in this academic session.

"We were surprised that not a single member from the previous board was retained," said an MCI official.

Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was also upset with the earlier board for its unilateral announcement of introduction of the controversial CET. MCI and the ministry were at odds over the notification, which was later deemed invalid.

The notification had sought a single entrance test for MBBS and MD courses offered by all 271 medical colleges — 138 run by governments and 133 are under private management. The move had put the ministry under pressure from several state governments, including Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The 77-year-old MCI was dissolved after the Central Bureau of Investigation arrested then MCI president Dr Ketan Desai on April 22, 2010, for accepting a bribe of Rs 2 crore. Desai allegedly accepted the cash in lieu of recognizing a medical college in Punjab, which did not meet MCI's norms.

An ordinance was signed by President Pratibha Patil and notified by the law ministry that replaced MCI with a six-member board of governors, headed by Sarin. The six-member panel included Dr Ranjit Roy Chowdhary, Dr Sita Naik, Dr Gautam Sen, Dr Devi Shetty and Dr R L Salhan.

MCI was established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1933, which was later repealed in 1956. The Act aims to establish uniform standards of higher qualifications in medicine and recognize medical institutions at home and abroad. Over the years, the Act has gone modifications in 1964, 1993 and 2001.

Link: Original Article

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