Medical Council of India has spent over Rs 31 crore during last five years on travel expenses of its members for attending meetings, visits and inspection tours, with nearly one-third of it spent during last fiscal.
In an RTI reply, the medical education regulator said during 2010-11, Rs 10.95 crore were spent towards travel expenses while Rs 6.90 crore were spent in 2009-10, Rs 5.48 crore in 2008-09, Rs 4.11 crore in 2007-08 and Rs 3.66 crore in 2006-07.
In addition to a number of other duties, the regulator also carries out inspection of all medical institutes in the country and only after its sanction, any institute offering medical courses can function.
The reply was provided to a student of UP Rural Institute of Medical Sciences and Research in Etawah, Nitesh Kumar Tripathi, who sought to know from the MCI the details of travel expenses incurred by the council during last five years besides information on faculty strength in various medical colleges of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
Although the MCI provided summary of travel expenses, it did not give details of faculty strength, without giving any tenable reason for denying the information.
When the matter came for hearing before the Central Information Commission, Tripathi also alleged that the Director of the Institute has told him not to file any RTI applications with the MCI as it "affects the reputation of the college."
Taking it seriously, Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi "warned all public authorities not to bring any pressure on RTI applicants to dissuade them from exercising their fundamental right" and directed the MCI to disclose details of faculty strength in medical colleges of UP and Delhi.