New Delhi: With the cabinet paving way for a new apex education regulator in the form of the National Medical Commission by consenting to a bill calling for the replacement of the Medical Council of India(MCI), by the new body, it has also made way for certain reforms in the existing policies of Medical Education.
The bill proposes many changes in the functioning of the apex medical regulator, many in stark contrast to the current functioning of the MCI, especially when it comes to the regulations on medical colleges offering new course.
The prominent one being that the NMC Bill allows colleges to introduce postgraduate courses on their own, unlike in the MCI Act which sought separate permissions be granted for them, after UG clearances. This important development will not only pave way for additional seats and more specialists in the country but also bring about the much-needed reform to overcome doctor shortages in the country. This reversal is directed towards end to the existing corrupt practices during the approval and inspections at private medical colleges. College managements are believed to pay hefty amounts to the inspecting officials for college clearances.
The other refreshing change is the NMC being empowered to determine fees for up to 40% seats, thereby, increasing the say of the government in fixing of fee and providing cover for the economically weaker sections of students wanting to pursue medical education in the country. The MCI act did not provide any fee leverage to the government. It was this significant bar on the government in the fees sector by the MCI Act that had led Prime Minister Modi in a health review call for a ban on the Council, as reported by the TOI.
Another significant change that the National Medical Commission Bill ushers in is the imposition of penalty ten times that of the tuition fee for not meeting up to MCI’s norm requirements by colleges. This comes to replace the earlier MCI Act provision that rules out the MCI’s renewal nod and admission cancellations. This modification will protect student interests who suffered due to debarment of course renewals and admission cancellations.
Another change worth mentioning include that the Medical Council Act earlier, called for its nod in cases related to the establishment of new institutions/renewal and recognition of courses and increase of UG intake. The National Medical Commission has limited permission requirement for establishment and recognition in the case of UG courses; doing away with annual renewal and allowing an automatic increase in seats.
The above changes that come in with the introduction of the National Medical Commission are a step towards introducing transparency in the wake of corruption, more specifically in cases of admission and increase of seats in medical colleges reports TOI.
A four-member Committee headed by the Niti Aayog, Vice Chairman was responsible for drafting the NMC Bill. The bill also suggests clearance of a common entrance exam and licentiate exam for medical graduates in order to be able to practice, stated officials. The exit exam will also be treated as an entrance exam for PG courses. With NEET for selection to the MBBS course and the exit exam multiplicity of examinations for medical aspirants will meet its end, as well.