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IIT-M plans to start post-graduate department of medicine

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, is planning a proposal to get a post-graduate department of medicine.

According to IIT-M director M.S. Ananth, a proposal to introduce a post-graduate medical school at the IIT will be submitted to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development within the next three months.

Ruing the separation of medical and technical education in India, Dr. Ananth pointed out that “about 80 per cent of medicine is in engineering these days. Yes, the doctor has the final say, but engineering can help in diagnostics. That is something we just can’t ignore…. It is a situation that needs corrective action.” Addressing an industry event in Chennai on Monday, he said he was “taking efforts to see if IIT can’t start a medical school, at least at the post-graduate level.”

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, Dr. Ananth said he was in consultations with a number of doctors, including those at the Voluntary Health Service, Taramani and the Sundaram Medical Foundation, whose doctors already serve as adjunct professors at IIT. The suggestions of these doctors would help him formulate a proposal to put to the Ministry, he said.

The plan is likely to include a hospital in association with the post-graduate department.

“Issues of autonomy”

The obstacles to this plan could arise from “issues of autonomy,” said Dr. Ananth. “Frankly, I have been scared off by the Medical Council [of India]. I thought the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) was bad enough, but I’m told that this is worse,” he said, amid laughter from the audience. Dr. Ananth said he was “looking to see if the Act of Parliament that created the IITs can’t liberate me from these ills.” The IITs are autonomous institutes, which do not come under the authority of the AICTE, which governs technical education in India.

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