December 18, 2017:
As a Regulator a 25-member commission selected by a search committee headed by the Union Cabinet Secretary.
Union Cabinet has cleared National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, ending era of Medical Council of India (MCI) as Apex Medical Education Regulator conducting the annual inspections, and paving way for an exit exam for the medical graduates.
Move is based on recommendations of Ranjit Roychowdhury Committee and Parliamentary Standing Committee, both concluded that a regulator elected by fraternity it would monitor cannot be effective.
Bill provides for introduction of a licentiate (exit) examination within three years of its passage by the Parliament. Such a move would make medical sector the first in country’s higher education system to have a Common Entrance Test (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test), counselling and exit examination.
Bill represents a radical shift from present system in which the medical colleges are subject to the annual inspections on the physical, infrastructural and the bed-patient norms.
Under NMC, which includes a Medical Advisory Council where states will be represented, the colleges need permission only once for the establishment and recognition. Apart from removing need for the annual renewal of the recognition, colleges can, on their own, increase number of the seats subject to present cap of 250, and start the PG courses. Medical Assessment and Rating Board constituted by Central Government can, however, conduct the inspections.
Under NMC Bill, if a college is found to be in violation of the norms, such as those governing the teachers, the laboratories, the patients, etc., it can be fined sums ranging from half of cumulative fees it charges from the students to 10 times that amount.
Over years, there have been numerous allegations about functioning of the MCI, with its system of the annual inspections being accused of being “random” and susceptible to the corruption.
In 2010, MCI’s then Chairman Dr Ketan Desai was arrested and Council superceded by a Board of Governors. But that stop-gap arrangement did not last long.
In 2016., Parliamentary Standing Committee for Health and Family Welfare, in its 92nd Report, “Corruption in MCI” stated that “…President, MCI during the evidence before Committee admitted that the corruption was there when there was sanctioning of the medical colleges, or increasing or decreasing the seats”.
Ex-officio members of NMC will include Director of AIIMS, New Delhi; Director General of Health Services; and Nominees of PGI Chandigarh, JIPMER Puducherry, TMCH Mumbai, and NEIGRIHMS Shillong.
64-member Medical Advisory Council will have one member from each state and UT (nominated by Home Ministry); Chairman UGC; Director NAAC, etc. There will be four boards under NMC for UG and PG Medical Education, Ethics, Ratings and Assessment.
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