The Prime Minister's Office has called for "appropriate action" in response to a complaint lodged against National Medical Commission members who have not disclosed their assets. Despite being in leadership positions for three years, these members have yet to publish their asset declarations on the official website, thereby violating the NMC Act 2019.
Furthermore, the PMO has taken the step of forwarding the complaint regarding the non-disclosure of assets by NMC members to the Union Health Ministry. This information comes to light through a response to a Right to Information (RTI) query. The directive from the PMO emphasizes the need for accountability and adherence to statutory obligations within the National Medical Commission.
The PMO addressed an RTI request filed by Dr. KV Babu, an ophthalmologist based in Kerala. Dr. Babu, who has been actively pursuing this matter for several months, stated that he has, for the first time, received a response from the government. “While the NMC is stone-walling the RTI applications regarding the disclosure of assets by NMC members, the Ministry of Health, which has a responsibility to intervene, has been evasive on the matter,” he said.
“The response from the PMO, which has taken action by registering the complaint and forwarding it to the ministry, is a step in the right direction,” Babu told this paper.
“I believe now the NMC has to disclose the assets of its members and upload the details on the website and comply with Section 6(6) of NMC Act 2019, which makes it mandatory for the members to reveal their assets,” he said.
Failure to adhere to the NMC Act constitutes professional misconduct. This implies that, beyond potential removal from their positions, members could face the suspension of their licenses to practice, given that all members are from the medical field and are bound by the country's laws.
Dr. Babu filed the complaint with the PMO on October 16, urging intervention and the issuance of appropriate directives to the NMC. The NMC, responsible for overseeing medical education in India, is urged to ensure transparent functioning in response to the concerns raised.
In his complaint, he noted the absence of responses from both the ministry and the NMC. Furthermore, the NMC members have not adhered to the standard practice of disclosing their assets on the official website. Dr. Babu received the response from the PMO on November 9.
In its response, the PMO said that his letter received “has been forwarded online for action as appropriate through Public Grievances Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) to Department of Health and Family Welfare.”
“Redressing a grievance is under the purview of appropriate authority dealing with the subject specified. Therefore, the information sought relates to the authority concerned to which the complaint was forwarded.”
This newspaper was the first to report that the 31-member NMC, including the chairman, failed to disclose their assets on the website, despite repeated RTIs and appeals. Their term will end by September 25, 2024. The PMO, in response to an RTI filed by Dr. KV Babu, has forwarded the complaint on non-disclosure of assets by NMC members to the Union Health Ministry.
Image source: Indian Express