Officials sitting in the Delhi office of the Medical Council of India (MCI) will soon know if doctors teaching at medical colleges in Mumbai are bunking work.
The council has made it mandatory for all 300 government, civic and private medical colleges cum hospitals in India to install biometric card readers and other software to monitor the attendance of teachers/doctors.
In a circular issued on March 5, the council asked the deans of medical colleges to “immediately” start installing the system for “Faculty Identification, Tracking and Monitoring”. The move has not gone down well with some doctors.
The MCI, which oversees medical education in India, grants recognition to college departments only if they have the prescribed staff strength. Several colleges 'borrow' staff from other colleges to pose as faculty during inspections.
“With the biometric system, we'll know how many teachers genuinely work at a college. This way colleges won’t get away by showing flying faculty,” said MCI president, Dr Ketan Desai.
"If we find a teacher is not regular, we will not count him/her in the college's staff strength. This will affect the college's recognition," he added.
A section of senior doctors consider the MCI plan demeaning. "The MCI has gone too far. They should have faith in medical colleges.
We are doctors, not criminals whose movements need to monitored," said a senior doctor at Nair Hospital.
“We sign the register daily. What if a doctor leaves the college building early but is in a ward in the hospital premises and forgets to come back to sign out?" he added.
The government and BMC have started installing their own biometric systems at JJ and Nair Hospitals.
So the hospitals may end up with two systems.
“People carry multiple credit cards, we will have two smart cards, one because we are BMC employees and one because we are medical teachers,” said Nair Hospital Dean, Dr Ravi Rananvare.
He said the BMC biometric system will be functional soon and the process for installing the MCI system has also started.
KEM Hospital Dean Dr Sanjay Oak said the biometric system would be installed at KEM after the work had been completed at Nair.