New Delhi, Dec 11: The Centre on Monday defended the change in the National Medical Commission's logo to feature Dhanwantari -- the physicians of the Gods in Hindu mythology -- instead of a secular emblem, saying it was part of India's heritage and everyone must feel proud of it.

When the TMC's Santanu Sen raised the issue of the change in the logo through a Zero Hour mention in the Rajya Sabha, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said Dhanwantari is a symbol of Indian medical science.

"(It was) already a part of the (Commission's) logo and just some colour has been added and nothing more," he said.

"This is India's heritage. I feel we should feel proud (about it)," he added.

The minister said the logo is designed by taking inspiration from the country's heritage.

"This is a symbol of medical science ... someone who had done so much research in medical science. We have used the photo with no other intention."

The Medical Council of India (MCI) logo was adopted in 1934 after the Indian Medical Council Act, 1933, was enacted.

The law defined medicine as "modern scientific medicine and includes surgery and obstetrics" and the logo used was based on the international symbol for medicine -- the staff of Aesclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing.

The logo also featured a snake wound around the staff.

While there has been no official announcement of a change in the Commission's logo, a black and white logo with the depiction of Dhanwantari at the centre reportedly appeared in December 2022. The colourised version appeared a couple of months later.

Raising the issue through a Zero Hour mention, Sen demanded the restoration of the National Medical Commission's previous logo.

He said the Indian Medical Council Act of 1956 was repealed in 2020 despite objections from different corners of society and the medical fraternity.

"The National Medical Commission came into force from 25th September 2020, repealing the 64-year-old Indian Medical Council Act, 1956," he added.

Earlier it was termed as "western medicine", then it became "medicine" and finally it was termed as "modern medicine", Sen said and added that the logo of modern medicine is the staff of Aesclepius.

"And there was no need and there was no permissible condition, so far as the National Medical Commission is concerned, that this logo can be changed. But, unfortunately, we have seen in the recent past, I don't know (if it is) because of government instruction or by the National Medical Commission itself, they have changed the logo and they have brought a photograph of Dhanwantari in the logo," Sen said.

The "change of logo was absolutely not needed. It symbolises one particular religion," he added.

The National Medical Commission, he said, regulates medical curriculum and sanctions new medical colleges.

"Its function is not to promote any particular religion. Even the Ayush department did not change its logo but the National Medical Commission has," the TMC MP said.

"It is against the basic oath which doctors take after passing MBBS. They take the oath that we will treat each and every patient irrespective of their caste, creed or religion. We are not bound to treat one particular religion," he said.

The change of logo, he said, was against the basic essence of the Indian Constitution which, through Article 25 and 26 after the 42nd Amendment in 1976, states that India is a secular country.

"And we should promote the dovetailing of religion," Sen said and demanded that the National Medical Commission immediately restore the previous logo that did not symbolise any particular religion.

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New Delhi, Mar 4: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in his reply to the latest ED summons related to the excise policy case has expressed readiness to appear before the agency through video-conferencing after March 12, government sources said on Monday.

Kejriwal has so far skipped multiple summonses of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), calling them illegal and asking the agency to wait as the matter was in court.

The chief minister reiterated that the summonses are "illegal" but still he was ready to answer the questions by the probe agency, the sources said.

Kejriwal also has to appear before a city court on March 16. The court has sought his personal appearance in a complaint case filed by the ED over skipping of its summonses by him.