The Medical Council of India (MCI) has opposed the government’s proposed Foreign Educational Institutions Bill to allow and regulate foreign universities in India, refusing to support the landmark legislation which the world is watching.
The country’s apex medical education regulator has written to the human resource development (HRD) ministry arguing that the MCI’s rules do not allow it to support the proposed legislation, top government sources have told the Hindustan Times.
The MCI’s opposition may delay the Bill, which is critical for a number of top global universities to partner with Indian institutions or set up campuses here.
Several institutions in the US and the UK have been eying the Indian market, especially as higher education in those countries is currently facing a major financial crisis.Till the Bill is enacted, foreign universities cannot set up campuses here, or offer twinning arrangements with Indian institutions.
The opposition to the Bill comes even as the Parliament Standing Committee on HRD finalises its report on the Bill. The House panel today summoned the University Grants Commission to depose on the Bill.
Sources said the UGC broadly supported the Bill. But the MCI’s opposition will not be easy for the government to ignore, as it is the designated statutory authority for recognizing foreign educational institutions keen to enter India, under the FEI Bill.
Some government sources, however, indicated that the MCI may yet be convinced into revising its stand.
The MCI has argued that under its rules, any institution — including foreign institutions keen on offering medical degrees in India — must undergo the Council’s rigorous scrutiny.
“Our concern is that the FEI Bill, while designating us the statutory authority, does not allow the rigorous scrutiny prior to an institute starting its campus, that we are required to do under the rules,” an MCI source said.
“The only way out is to change the MCI’s rules,” the source added.