In a step that could potentially have massive repercussions for the medical education sector, the Centre yesterday dissolved the Medical Council of India and replaced it with a seven-member board led by NITI Aayog member (Health) VK Paul.
The Union Cabinet issued an ordinance appointing a seven-member committee to operate the medical education regulator until the bill proposing the creation of National Medical Commission, a statutory body that will replace the MCI, is passed by Parliament.
For the time being, the new board will comprise of AIIMS (New Delhi) Director Randeep Guleria, PGI Chandigarh Director Jagat Ram, NIMHANS Bangalore Chief BN Gangadhar, AIIMS (New Delhi) Professor Nikhil Tandon, Director General Health Services S Venkatesh, and Secretary Health Research Balram Bhargava, reports The Tribune.
As per the Indian Medical Council Amendment Ordinance 2018, the new board of governors will supersede the MCI, while its President, Vice President and other MCI members would have to vacate their offices, besides losing all claim to any sort of monetary compensation.
Why did the Centre feel the need to issue this ordinance?
As per reports, the Supreme Court-appointed committee tasked with monitoring the MCI “resigned in disgust” earlier this month and told the government that the office-bearers were being uncooperative and non-compliant.
“The MCI was non-compliant and non-cooperative throughout, and it was the second time an apex court-appointed OC (the first one was headed by former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha) put in its papers — so urgent action was needed,” a health ministry official told The New Indian Express.
The appointment of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee had come in the wake of multiple corruption charges and allegation of unethical practices against MCI office bearers and the institutions under its jurisdiction. It is no secret that the medical education sector is in total disarray.
Despite yesterday’s ordinance, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made it very clear that the appointment of a new board to take over the MCI is only temporary until Parliament clears the NMC Bill in the upcoming session of Parliament.
The National Medical Commission Bill was introduced by JP Nadda, the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, on December 29, 2017, in a serious attempt at reforming the medical education sector.
If passed, the Bill will repeal the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and provide for a medical education system which ensures:
(i) Availability of adequate and high-quality medical professionals.
(ii) Adoption of the latest medical research by medical professionals.
(iii) Periodic assessment of medical institutions.
(iv) An effective grievance redressal mechanism.
You can read more about the proposed 25-member National Medical Commission in our explainer here.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)