Govt bans 32 private medical colleges from admitting students for two years. The Union health ministry has banned 32 private medical colleges from admitting students for two years, overruling a Supreme Court panel that had cleared their alleged substandard facilities. The ministry also forfeited the colleges’ security deposit of Rs 2 crore each. It has allowed 4,000 undergrad students to continue studying at these institutes.Arun Singhal said “We based our decision on the inspection report which highlighted gross deficiency of facilities. But the decision will not impact students already studying.” Over the years, undergrad medical studies in India have been mired in controversy, and a mushrooming of private colleges to meet growing demand has led to widespread corruption and a fall in the quality of medical education in the country.Following this, a joint four-member inspection team of the Oversight Committee and MCI visited these colleges between November and December and found them “grossly deficient in basic facilities”.In May 2016, the Supreme Court appointed a three-member Oversight Committee (OC), headed by former chief justice ML Lodha to check alleged corruption at the Medical Council of India. By the time the court panel was constituted, the MCI had completed inspecting 109 new colleges that had applied to admit medical students in 2016. The MCI allowed only 17 colleges. But the panel reviewed the MCI’s decision and permitted 34 more colleges to take in students. The panel allowed these colleges based on an “undertaking” from them that they will fulfill all criteria. The MCI recommended banning 32 colleges.Jayshree Mehta, president of the MCI said, “It will be unfair to say that MCI did not adhere to the OC guidelines. The MCI has engaged the assessors from the OC panel and OC recommended institution in every team.” “We looked at the inspection report of the MCI and the OC’s comment on that and made a decision,” Singhal said. Most of the private colleges called the ban discriminatory and illegal. “Last year, the OC allowed 34 colleges to admit students and put in place a proper mechanism to inspect the facilities, but the MCI has grossly violated that process. It failed 32 colleges deliberately. It is witch-hunting,” a promoter of a private college.
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