IITs' med school plan put on hold | delhi | Hindustan Times
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IITs' med school plan put on hold

The Indian Institutes of Technology cannot start medical schools without a nod from the scam-tainted Medical Council of India, the law ministry has decided. The decision comes as a big blow to the premier engineering institutes' expansion plans. Charu Sudan Kasturi reports.

delhi Updated: Aug 01, 2010 00:29 IST
Charu Sudan Kasturi

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) cannot start medical schools without a nod from the scam-tainted Medical Council of India (MCI), the law ministry has decided. The decision comes as a big blow to the premier engineering institutes' expansion plans.

Earlier this week, the law ministry had rejected the HRD ministry's demand to allow the IITs to launch medical schools without the MCI's intervention, government sources told HT.

The decision casts a shadow over a $50 million project signed by IIT-Kharagpur with University of California, San Diego, last year to set up a 750-bed state-of-the-art hospital and research centre at the IIT.

The need for MCI approval is now specifically mentioned in amendments to the Institute of Technology Act — which governs the IITs — approved by the law ministry. The HRD ministry could place the amendments before Cabinet next week and introduce the amendments during the ongoing session of Parliament.

"The IITs will seek MCI approval for setting up educational institutions for medical education and for granting degrees in medicine," the HRD ministry has written in response to the law ministry's rejection, in the Note for the Cabinet.

The law ministry's decision — taken after the health ministry opposed the HRD ministry demand — may have graver long-term repercussions for the IITs, sources warned.

The amendment — allowing the IITs exemption from MCI approval — "would have given the necessary freedom to innovate and bring changes in the medical and healthcare delivery system", a source said.

The IITs are interested in cross-stream collaboration with engineering medicine through their medical schools — a challenge that the MCI might not appreciate — is the HRD ministry's concern.

The law ministry's tweak to the amendment law will also represent the first time that the IITs will need approval from any regulator to start new courses. They don't need sanction from the AICTE or the UGC to run their engineering, science and humanities programmes.