Barring Nursing Council, all other regulatory councils have been neck deep in corruption. The arrest of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) member secretary in 2009 and former MCI president by CBI in 2010 brought to the fore the wide spread rot in these councils including dental and pharmacy councils.
At that time leaders of political parties cutting across ideologies backed these corrupt officials which also indicated their political clout.
The MCI was packed with a large number of elected members. Apart from state governments, there were nominees of the public universities. Most of these members were elected and belonged to private institutions giving the government little control over them. In the new dispensation, majority of the members are government officials who could be held accountable and disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal and salary cut can be initiated them if found guilty.
Following the intervention of the Supreme Court, the entire AICTE was revamped. Introduction of video recording of inspection of colleges, which were submitted on the same day, brought transparency in the system. The AICTE also came out with specific norms and calendar on inspections. The entire process was streamlined making it more transparent and accountable.
The AICTE inspectors are from the government or retired from government institutions. Just two to three days notice is given to the institutions where the inspection is to be carried out. Flight tickets, accommodation and local transportation are arranged by the council. On the other hand, in the MCI inspection, the institutions are informed about the inspection well in advance. This allows the institutions to make rearrangements at the site of inspection. How the empty beds are filled with patients in a couple of days and how come institution without doctors suddenly have sufficient staff strength are anybody's guess.
The changes being brought in the system through NMC are expected to bring efficiency, accountability and transparency.
(Dr K.G. Revikumar is chairman, Pharma-ceutical Society of Kerala)...