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How a ‘commission’ fooled colleges, doctors, governments and the media

The Bio-Chemic Education Grant Commission (BEGC) offers accreditation to medical colleges and gives licences to doctors to practice medicine in the field of “bio-chemic”.

business Updated: Apr 20, 2016 09:36 IST
Sruthin Lal
Based in West Bengal’s Nadia district, BEGC claims it was established under the Indian Bio-Chemic Act 2009, an act that doesn’t exist. But its notifications have appeared on the Gazette of India, the official rule book of the Indian government.
Based in West Bengal’s Nadia district, BEGC claims it was established under the Indian Bio-Chemic Act 2009, an act that doesn’t exist. But its notifications have appeared on the Gazette of India, the official rule book of the Indian government.(Photo Courtesy: The Commission’s official website.)

The Bio-Chemic Education Grant Commission (BEGC) offers accreditation to medical colleges and gives licences to doctors to practice medicine in the field of “bio-chemic”.

This would seem to be like a regular government body similar to the Medical Council of India, but it isn’t. BEGC, which claims to be a statutory authority, has been deceiving colleges and doctors across India since being established around seven years ago.

Based in West Bengal’s Nadia district, BEGC claims it was established under the Indian Bio-Chemic Act 2009, an act that doesn’t exist. But its notifications have appeared on the Gazette of India, the official rule book of the Indian government.

How? The authorities are clueless. On March 23, 2015, three notifications appeared in section 4 of part III of the Gazette that is meant for “miscellaneous notifications” by statutory bodies.

“All Indian Medical system will consult for any advice and activities to get legal permission” from the commission, one of the notifications said. Another listed 13 members of the commission. Every notification ended: “By order, Shyamal Dutta, the CEO and the President.”

Through an RTI, HT asked the government press in New Delhi, how the notifications were published without verification. “The genuineness of the notification is not verified by the press,” it replied. The department of publication did not reply.

The commission also gets its alleged authenticity through its website, which has photos of minister of science and technology Jitendra Singh along with Dutta.

BECG even conducted a seminar in New Delhi’s Hotel Ashok in January in collaboration with the “Department of North East Development”.

BEGC runs a medical court, gives accreditation to doctors and educational institutions to conduct courses on “bio-chemic” education. Its centralised processing cell has even sent notices to doctors in Kerala, asking them to pay Rs 3,000 each for getting registered with BEGC.

The commission’s website lists about 24 bio-chemic colleges and a not-for-profit University of Bio-Chemic Health Sciences established in 2015 and “controlled” by BEGC.

It also gives an idea of what the commission did so far. “Nearly 1,000 students are receiving teaching and training within the affiliated colleges across India.”

The Patna Bio-chemic Medical College & Research Institute, one of the “accredited” colleges, said the first batch started last year with about 25 students. The course fee is Rs 1.51 lakh a year for a 4-year MBBS. The new batch is about to start.

The person could not explain what “bio-chemic” is except that it is an “advanced medicine” form, and said there are four faculties to teach and they are MBBS doctors.

BCEGC’s website also shows clippings of some national dailies (including HT) that carried stories on its press conference.

The CEO has not responded to HT’s email queries. On why the commission was located in Nadia, an official of BEGC replied: “It is because our CEO’s house is here.”