The Union government will go ahead with the proposed Bachelor of Rural Health Care. This assertion came from Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in response to questions by journalists whether the government would put the proposal on hold in the wake of the arrest of Ketan Desai, president of the Medical Council of India (MCI).

The Minister said it was a government initiative where public sector hospitals would also function as training schools with no involvement of the private sector.

“It is for the States to decide on the nature and implementation of the scheme,” he said. The role of the Medical Council of India would remain confined to formulating the syllabus, which has already been done and degrees would be given by varsities.

The course was approved by the MCI and a preliminary announcement was made by Dr. Desai with much fanfare.

Earlier, addressing the first meeting of the newly constituted Institute Body of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here, Mr. Azad assured the members that the institute would not be privatised. The Valiathan Committee had come up with some “futuristic” recommendations on corporatisation of the AIIMS and it would be taken up step by step. The basic character of the AIIMS of providing tertiary healthcare, cutting edge research and education would not be diluted. While elaborating on the AIIMS' expansion programmes and the new one coming up at Jhajjar in Haryana, Mr. Azad sought suggestions to decongest the hospital. The new AIIMS at Jhajjar and others coming up elsewhere in the country had adequate facilities for attendants, particularly of the patients from outside the area. He felt similar facilities should be created at the AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospitals here also.

The Institute Body postponed till June a decision on a proposal presented by the Department of Personnel and Training to fill vacancies in the AIIMS. It was decided that since the members were new, they should be given some time to study the proposal.

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