Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bill for IIT-Kharagpur medical school in monsoon session

The Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT-KGP) is all set to get the go ahead with its plans to set up a medical school and hospital. According to sources, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) will table the amendment Bill to the IIT Act in the monsoon session of Parliament beginning August 1, to facilitate the oldest IIT in the country to teach medicine.

“We have been told by the secretary concerned in the MHRD that the amendment to the IIT Act facilitating the medical school is part of the list of 20 priority resolutions to be passed in the monsoon session,” said a professor at IIT-KGP on the condition of anonymity. The institute had signed a $50-million MoU with the University of California, San Diego, in 2009 to set up a 750-bed state-of-the-art hospital and research centre at the campus.

IITs function under the MHRD and are governed by the IIT Act, which prohibits them from foraying into fields like medicine. Thus far, said the professor, IIT KGP’s application had been pending because of a tussle between MHRD and the Medical Council of India (MCI).

Now, the differences were sorted out. While IIT-KGP will remain under the MHRD, the new curriculum and degree certification will be approved by the MCI. While MHRD officials remained unavailable for comment, the development was confirmed by the administration at IIT-KGP. “A medical degree, for it to have any value in India, needs the MCI certification. We have answered the concerns that were raised by MCI and are hopeful that the amendment will soon be passed,” said A K Majumdar, Deputy Director, IIT-KGP.

The oldest IIT in India had started the School of Medical Science & Technology in 2001. IIT-KGP, established in 1951, has more than 9,000 students. “We are already doing some work in the field of medical science and technology. The earlier school works on a postgraduate level where MBBS doctors train for international research,” said Majumdar. Also, the institute has been dabbling with telemedicine research for a while and has conducted joint projects with the School of Tropical Medicine and has developed a software providing low bandwidth x-ray.

When, IIT-KGP was set up it was modeled along the lines of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The iconic MIT has managed to effectively expand beyond its core area into fields like philosophy, economics, management and political science.

Source: Business Standard, July 14, 2011
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