Probe committee report seeks replacement of Medical Council Act

The stakeholders and common public has been invited to comment and put in their suggestions after going through the report posted on NITI Aayog website

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New Delhi: The high powered Committee that was asked to probe the working of Medical Council of India (MCI) has completed the first stage of its work and posted its preliminary report on the NITI Aayog website. The stakeholders have been now invited to offer their comments and suggestions on this report which may be sent directly to [email protected].

In view of widespread criticism of the workings of the MCI included in the 92nd Report of Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare, presented to the Rajya Sabha on March 08, 2016, the Government of India had appointed a Committee under the chairmanship of Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog on March 28, 2016.  The Committee, which included Additional Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, CEO, NITI Aayog and Secretary, Health and Family Welfare as members, was asked to examine all options for reforms in the Medical Council of India and suggest the way forward.

The preliminary report includes a draft Bill intended to replace the current Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.  Main Features of the Proposed Bill are as under:

1. Regulators of highest standards of professional integrity and excellence must be appointed through an independent and a transparent selection process by a broad-based Search cum Selection Committee.

2. A New Institutional Architecture for Regulation has been suggested with (i) A Medical Advisory Council (MAC) having representation from the States and Union Territories (UTs) to articulate the national agenda for medical education; (ii) the National Medical Commission (NMC), which is to serve as the policy-making body for medical education; and (iii) four autonomous Boards charged Under Graduate Medical Education, Post Graduate Medical Education, Medical Assessment and Rating and Registration and Ethics.

3. Since it has been felt that the input based regulatory philosophy underlying the current MCI has turned into a high entry barrier, the NMC regulation is to be overwhelmingly based on outcomes rather than inputs.  The Committee has proposed periodic publication of ratings of medical institutions.

4. The Committee has also proposed that NMC be empowered to fix norms for regulating fees for a proportion of seats in private medical colleges while allowing the promoters to fix the fees for the remainder of seats transparently.  No fees other than clearly announced on the website of the college should be permitted.

5. The committee proposes to provide a statutory basis for common entrance examination for admissions to under-graduate and post-graduate courses in Medical institutions and a Common Licentiate Examination for practice by medical professionals after completion of the undergraduate medical degree.

6. The Committee recommends that ‘for- profit’ organizations be permitted to establish medical colleges.