July 4, 2019
Dr Santanu Sen speaks on The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2019
Good evening everybody. Respected Chairman Sir, through you, and in the presence of our hon’ble minister, I would like to highlight upon certain important points before this August House. Sir, as I was telling the other day, while speaking on the Homeopathy Bill, already our present government has created a record of bringing Ordinances. Previously it was one or two per 10 Bills, now it has become nearly four to five per 10 Bills. I congratulate the government for this record.
Sir, once again I do believe that this Ordinance is nothing but a backdoor process of grabbing the power in the hands of the government bureaucrats . Sir, what is Ordinance actually? To the best of my knowledge, usually the Ordinance is promulgated in a situation to handle an emergency condition. If you go through this Ordinance, in the Preamble, it is simply gentle Preamble. Why this Ordinance was necessary? Why it was required? What was the emergency situation? Nothing was mentioned in the particular Ordinance. It was not even in the public domain for the people at large.
Sir, I would like to remind you all that this is not the first effort of GOI to grab the power by bringing Ordinance or by dissolving the democratically elected Medical Council of India. Sir, I would like to remind you on May 15, 2010, an Ordinance was promulgated to dissolve Medical Council of India, with a charge of corruption. There is a difference because in that Ordinance, the reasons of bringing Ordinance were highlighted which has not been done this time. But, unfortunately at that particular point of time in 2010, a Board of Governors were made consisting of seven members. But, the saddest part was it was needed to be changed three times in three years.
I would like to remind you once again, initially in 2010 the Board of Governors were made under the leadership of Dr SK Soren. But, immediately after one year, they felt the necessity of changing it. A new Board of Governors was formed under the leadership of Dr KK Talwar in the year 2011 & 2012. Even after this, they were not satisfied with their efforts with their activities and they were bound to change it in the immediate next year. In the year 2013, another Board of Governors came into force under the leadership of Dr SK Srivastava. Three Board of Governors in three consecutive years.
Then finally, the Government felt that it will not do and once again they felt the requirement of Medical Council of India and once again they reconstituted the Medical Council of India on November 5, 2013. Duration of the reconstituted Medical Council of India was for five years. So, it was supposed to expire on November 5, 2018 after the completion of 5 years.
Sir, I would like to highlight upon one thing. My fellow colleague was talking about Overseeing Committee. I must let you know the members who were in the Overseeing Committee, they rendered their resignation. I do agree with the version of Mr Jairam Ramesh Ji . The languages were the same but they have shown the reason that they have resigned for their personal reasons and they also mentioned in their resignation letter that they are preoccupied so they won’t be able to continue. Unfortunately the members of the Overseeing Committee who resigned because of their busy schedule – and at that time they were on a temporary basis – were given permanent jobs, making them members of the Board of Governors.
Sir, the election was due on the November 5, 2018, as you know 90 days before the election process should start and it did start accordingly. Notice was sent to all the State Government, health universities, State Medical Council asking for nominations. The process was started even in our State of West Bengal. I being a member of West Bengal Medical Council, can say the process did start in our State also. Surprisingly, in one end they are sending notice to start the election process for fresh MCI constitution and on the other end they bringing this Ordinance.
Sir, it is mentioned in the new Ordinance that there will be a Secretary General ranked above the Secretary. What is MCI? It’s the Medical Council of India. What is the job of the MCI? Its first job is to register doctors of modern medicine. What will be the role of the Secretary General ? What is the criteria of selecting the Secretary General? What is the recruitment policy of recruiting Secretary General, ranked above the Secretary? Nobody knows. What is the jurisdiction of this Secretary General? Who will control the Secretary General? Nobody knows.
Sir, there is another Amendment of Section 3A(c) in its sub-section 4 in which it is mentioned that the number of Board of Governors will be increased from seven to twelve, the reason is not known. By doing this, is the present government accepting their failure that the seven people could not run the show that they need five more people? What is the criteria of recruiting five more people in this Board of Governors? Nobody knows. Usually we know, because of the election purpose, in every organisation the number of members in the Board of Governors is an odd number. But here, it was an odd number – which was seven – and they are making it an even number, which is twelve.
Sir, in the previous Ordinance it was written there will be the people with proper medical educational experience and now it is written that from medical education to proven administrative capacity; so what does this mean? Indirectly they are opening the door for the bureaucrats. So they are trying to hand over the power from a medical persons to the bureaucrats, who will finally run the show of this medical profession. Sir, the government is trying to take control by the backdoor process, as I said. Ultimately, they are ruining this democratic process and they destroying the federal structure of this country, Sir.
Sir, now let me tell you the facts. In the last one year, what the Board of Governors did, how transparent they were, how regular they were. As all of you know, in the last Parliament session a Bill was passed, where it was decided that there will be an increase of 10 percent of seats for the economically weaker sections everywhere. Accordingly, the Government appointed the Medical Council of India; Board of Governors issued notice to all the States, to all the medical colleges that there should be an increase of 25 percent seats. Unfortunately, later on, once the Bill was passed in the Parliament, they put forward certain conditions, like,
1. The medical colleges should have the provision of the SC/ST & OBC which was not said in the Parliament.
2. The medical colleges should provide 15 per cent quotas to all India, which was not said during the Parliament session.
3. If it is a case of private medical college,the fees of those private medical colleges ought to be fixed by the Government.
These three conditions were originally not there when the Bill was passed. I would like to know in which authority these Board of Governors, once the Bill got passed, tried to modify this. Sir, I am saying this on the basis of the website reports and letters issued by the Government itself.
Sir, as per the June 21 circular, 128 medical colleges were supposed to get more number of seats, out of which 40 medical colleges were supposed to get 50 extra seats. They were having 150 and they were supposed to get 200 instead of 150. In actuality, out of those 40 medical colleges, note the discrepancies, in 10 medical colleges it was increased from 150 to 155 instead of 200. In 15 medical colleges, it was increased from 150 to 180 instead of 200 and only in 19 medical colleges it was increased from 150 to 200. I want to know the reason behind creating such discrepancies.
Moreover, I would like to highlight a very important issue, Sir. Initially, it was told that it would apply for all government and private medical colleges, but later on, in only one particular State of the Wetsern part of the country, only for the state of Gujarat, I repeat the state of Gujarat, where our Hon’ble Prime Minister stays, where he was the former Chief Minister, 12 private medical colleges have been given exemption. The reason is not known to anybody. Only one particular state has been given exemption and the rest of the States got victimised.
My humble suggestion is that is should be sent to the Assurance Committee to look into the fact on how the parliamentary decision has been flouted intentionally and it should come out with the report in the Parliament before this session ends.