Anbumani sets timeframe to hold convocation
New Delhi, Aug 30: Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss today said he had directed AIIMS Director P Venugopal to hold a convocation within a month to present pending degrees to the students, who have been on agitation on the issue of delay in the award of degrees. Making a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha on the strike by the resident doctors, who have paralysed the functioning of the country's premier health institute in the last two days, Dr Ramadoss said he had also asked the director to take necessary steps to ensure that the strike was called off and the patient care service restored immediately.
''My utmost sympathy is with the students who are waiting for the award of degrees for more than two years which is primarily due to a delay in holding a convocation,' Dr Ramadoss said, while directly blaming the Director, with whom he has been at loggerheads, for the delay.
He said an AIIMS convocation was organised every year, sometime in February when the degrees were awarded to successful students.
''The degrees shall bear signatures of President, Director, Dean and the Registrar of AIIMS,'' he said, highlighting the procedure followed.
In this context, he pointed a finger at the Director for not organising the convocation for the last two years.
However, as a special case considering the requirement of original degrees for students appearing in USMLE, USA, 54 MBBS degrees of 2005 were signed by all concerned to be awarded to the students. Similarly for the year 2006 also, 49 MBBS degrees were forwarded by the Director on August 2007 for his (minister) signature as AIIMS president.
These degrees were signed, among others, by a certain Dr Sandeep Aggarwal as Registrar of the Institute, whereas the Registrar appointed by the Governing Body was Mr V P Gupta. The Governing Body, the appointing authority for Registrar under the AIIMS Regulations, has decided to allow Mr Gupta to continue as Registrar in its meetings in January and May this year.
Since the degrees were signed by a person other than Mr Gupta, Dr Ramadoss said he had returned the degrees to the Director asking him to 'rectify' the mistake at the earliest.
''Any degree signed by an unauthorised person will render the degree illegal and invalid,'' Dr Ramadoss pointed out, while regretting that the resident doctors resorted to a strike without appreciating his concern for their future.
The BJP-led Opposition created furore in the House, blaming Dr Ramadoss for the crisis in the AIIMS, when he stood up to make the statement.
Since the BJP members continued to interrupt Dr Ramadoss, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee asked the Minister to lay the statement on the table of the House and adjourned the House for a lunch break.