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Nod for ordinance to reconstitute MCI
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 13
In a major move to redeem the lost reputation of Medical Council of India (MCI), whose president Ketan Desai was arrested last month by the CBI for accepting bribe, the Union Cabinet is learnt to have cleared a proposal of the Health Ministry to promulgate an ordinance to reconstitute the Council.

The ordinance, discussed at the Cabinet meeting held here today under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, proposes a seven-member team of eminent medical professionals to look after the affairs of MCI till the time the new council is put in place. The Health Ministry is said to have proposed a six-month period for the reconstitution of an all-new Medical Council of India team. UPA sources confirmed to TNS the cabinet nod for the ordinance though the Health Ministry was tight-lipped about it.

When promulgated (after the President signs it), the ordinance would effectively lead to the dissolution of the existing MCI, some of whose 123 current members have been in the dock following Desaiís arrest on corruption charges. The government, it appears, is keen to take control of MCI, which has seen a lot of muck of late, causing tremendous trust deficit among people; hence the ordinance to cleanse the MCI mess.

The proposed seven-member team would be required to deal on priority with the issue of pending renewals and permissions to medical colleges to admit fresh batches of students. Some 70 such permissions (renewals and fresh) are learnt to be pending with the ministry. The issue requires urgent attention, with the academic session to ensue soon.

It is further learnt that the ordinance in question proposes to give the seven-member expert committee the right of the Health Ministry to issue final permissions to the medical colleges which fulfill the eligibility criteria for admissions. The norm is that MCI recommends grant of such permission to the Health Ministry, which then issues the final order of permission.

Further, though as per the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, vice-president of the MCI normally assumes responsibility of the president if the latter is unavailable due to some reason, the government is now seeking complete control of MCI. Pending its reconstitution, the seven medical experts will discharge all roles required to be discharged by the MCI president. The Health Ministry will soon finalise the expert panel, which is likely to have on board as ex-officio members the directors of eminent institutes like AIIMS and PGIs.

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