Cabinet approves bill to replace Medical Council of India
A bill to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) with a national medical commission was cleared by the Union Cabinet on Fridayindia Updated: Dec 15, 2017 23:36 IST
The Union Cabinet cleared the National Medical Commission Bill 2017 which, once enacted, will replace the existing Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, in what many see as a huge step forward towards reforming the way medical education is regulated in India.
The Medical Council of India currently does this and it has been criticised for the way it does so. Some of its members are alleged to have taken bribes
to facilitate accreditation of medical colleges, or accelerate the process.
The National Medical Council aims to get around this problem by having autonomous boards to perform the functions of regulating undergraduate medical education; postgraduate medical education; assessment and rating; and ethics and medical registration. The idea is that by separating the selection function from the accreditation one, avenues for corruption will shrink.
“We have been demanding for a medical commission for long. This is a positive development,” said Dr Naresh Trehan, chairman of Medanta.
The 25-member commission will have a chairman, a member secretary, and 12 ex-officio members comprising the presidents of the four autonomous boards, the director general (DG) of health services; the DG of the Indian Council of Medical Research; the director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and nominees of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, and the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, Shillong .
It will also have 11 part-time members of which five will be doctors who are elected to the commission.
According to a statement from the government, between 16 and 22 members of the commission will be doctors.
The selected members are to be picked by a search committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary.
The new bill also does away with the annual renewal previously needed for medical colleges — another source of corruption.
“This is the end of heavy handed regulatory control over medical education institutions and a shift towards outcome based monitoring is one of the prominent aims of the bill,” a government official said on condition of anonymity.
The NMC bill also introduces a national licentiate examination which every candidate, who completes five years of MMBS course, will have to clear to become a medical practitioner or get entry into post-graduation studies.
Currently, a candidate clears National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) to get admission in a medical college, completes five year course and gets registered in the State Medical Council to practice medical profession.
The national licentiate examination will bring even those students who do medical education from abroad at par with those who graduate from Indian institutions.