Conflict of interest is rampant in public policy, says Niti Aayog vice-chairperson

Niti Aayog vice-chairman was citing the pending bill on National Medical Commission (NMC), which is expected to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI), as a case in point.

india Updated: Sep 11, 2018 22:52 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hinduastan Times, New Delhi
Niti Aayog,National Medical Commission,Medical Council of India
The vice-chairperson of federal think tank Niti Aayog, Rajiv Kumar, Tuesday said conflict of interest in public policy is rampant and prevalent at all levels in the country.(PTI File Photo)

The vice-chairperson of federal think tank Niti Aayog, Rajiv Kumar, Tuesday said conflict of interest in public policy is rampant and prevalent at all levels in the country, citing the pending bill on National Medical Commission (NMC), which is expected to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI), as a case in point.

He suggested that the future of the Bill, which was referred to a parliamentary standing committee on health and family welfare, was in doubt because “most of the owners of medical colleges in southern India are also members of Parliament”. Kumar did not take any names, but said it was difficult to usher in reforms in the sectors such as health and education on account of “vested interests”.The Bill proposes to regulate the fee structure in medical education, among other issues. It is being opposed by the Indian Medical Association.

Kumar was speaking at a roundtable, ‘Conflict of Interest in Public Policy,’ organised by the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India and Swadeshi Jagran Manch, an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Kumar spoke about a “nexus” between politicians and bureaucrats, and said that development training was being imparted in some places through the Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribe scholarship fund, but the scholarship money was pocketed by parents and training institutes.

“They (students) get a certificate; some money is given to the parents, some to the training centres,” Kumar said, adding there’s a need to define conflict of interest.He didn’t name anyone or cite examples to illustrate his point.

Calling for a mass movement in addition to newer laws, Kumar said there are various laws against social practices like dowry and crimes against marginalised communities that have not been able to eradicate the problems on the ground.“For the past 50 years, thousands of crores have been spent on integrated child development programme, but still 38% and in some areas 50% of the children are malnourished. Because there was no mass movement and the issue was not raised by the elite,” he said.

First Published: Sep 11, 2018 22:52 IST