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NEW DELHI: Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal on  
Wednesday said it would be his endeavour to implement the report of  
the Yash Pal Committee within 100 days.


Fri, Jul 17, 2009 14:02:11 IST

IN WHAT is probably the first sign of dissent from within government
circles over HRD Minister Kapil Sibal’s ambitious plans to revamp the
education system, the health ministry is learnt to have expressed its
reservations over the ‘subsuming’ of the Medical Council of India (MCI)
by an overarching regulatory body, as recommended by the Yashpal Committee.

“The health ministry officials took up the matter of keeping the MCI out
of the purview of the National Commission for Higher Education and
Research (NCHER) during a meeting with the cabinet secretary recently.
They wanted the 75-year-old MCI to retain its identity,” sources said.
It is also on the ground to avoid overlapping of tasks and taking away
their mandate in their respective areas, the sources added.

The Yashpal Committee on renovation and rejuvenation of higher
education, has recommended a National Commission for Higher Education
and Research (NCHER), an all-encompassing regulatory body, subsuming all
other existing regulatory agencies like the UGC, AICTE, MCI, Bar Council
of India, Pharmacy Council of India, Indian Nursing Council, National
Council on Technical Education and Council of Architecture and Distance

The MCI was established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council Act,
1933, with the main function of establishing uniform standards of higher
qualifications in medicine and the recognition of medical qualifications
in India and abroad. The Act was repealed in 1956 and a new one was
enacted. It was further modified in 1964, 1993 and 2001. Incidentally,
the opposition comes even as the HRD ministry is pondering the exact
structure of the super regulatory National Council for Higher Education
as outlined in the Presidential speech in the joint session of the
Parliament Commission.

“The setting up of the Commission through a constitutional amendment
would require a majority of the total membership of the House and a
majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present with voting
required in each house of parliament. Setting up a council would not
need a constitutional amendment,” sources said, pointing towards the
contemplation underway. In fact, sources maintained, it was this dilemma
that has so far led Sibal and his officials to continue with the
assertion of an “overarching regulatory authority”.

Amid ripples within political circles and across a cross-section of
society — including the existing professional councils, Sibal had tried
to allay fears over the authority, saying it would not necessarily be
under the control of the HRD ministry. But then, the Yashpal Committee
has recommended that the NCHER would be accountable only to Parliament,
and would draw its budgetary resources from the ministry of finance. The
status of full-time chairperson would be analogous to that of the Chief
Election Commissioner, and that of the members would be comparable to
the Election Commissioners, it has maintained.

The reservations over the NCHER were expected but there have also been
demands for doing away with the professional councils, the latest being
made by former Union Minister Ram Niwas Mirdha, who has written to Sibal
requesting him to repeal the NCTE Act and abolish the council. “One of
the worst scandals, on par with sanctioning of large number of deemed
universities by the UGC, was sanctioning of thousands of private BEd
colleges during the last few years by the NCTE. These sanctions were
given without considering whether it was the felt need of a particular
state and without consultation with the state governments,” he said.