“Will strengthen medical education in the country”
New Delhi: I heartily welcome the Ordinance to supersede the Medical Council of India (MCI), that was cleared today. This will strengthen medical education in the country”, stated Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Shri J P Nadda, today. He said that “The powers of the Council have been vested in a Board of Governors (BoG). It is expected that the BoG will bring about urgent and much-required reforms in the field of medical education.”
Further, he added: “I am happy that professionals of great eminence, who were earlier part of the Oversight Committee formed by Hon. Supreme Court, will constitute the BoG and I am sure they will work towards enhancing access to quality health care for all.”
Based on the 92nd Report of March 2016 of the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health & Family Welfare and recommendations of a Group of Experts under late Professor Ranjit Roy Chaudhary, the Government introduced the National Medical Commission Bill, 2017 in Lok Sabha on 29.12.2017.
The Bill provides for simplification of procedures and is expected to spur rapid growth in the number of UG and PG seats in the country besides enhancing the governance and quality of medical education. The NMC Bill provides for distribution of functions among four autonomous boards whose members would be persons of proven ability selected through a transparent process.
The Bill was taken up for consideration on 02.01.2018 and was referred to Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health & Family Welfare for examination. The Parliamentary Standing Committee presented its 109th Report on the Bill to the House on 20.03.2018. The Ministry after examining the recommendations obtained approval of the Cabinet on 28.03.2018 for moving official amendments. Thereafter, the Bill is pending in the Lok Sabha.
Meanwhile, Hon’ble Supreme Court in its judgment dated 02.05.2016 issued directions to the Central Government to constitute an Oversight Committee with the authority to oversee all statutory functions of MCI till a new legislation comes in.
In 2017, another Oversight Committee (OC) was set up with the approval of the Supreme Court after the expiry of the one year term of the first OC. This OC was chaired by Dr V K Paul and included eminent doctors including Directors of AIIMS Delhi, PGI Chandigarh, NIMHANS.
On 6th July 2018, OC cited instances of non-compliance of their instructions by MCI and said that MCI has not only misinterpreted orders of the Supreme Court but has also challenged the authority of OC. Subsequently, all members of OC have resigned.
In such circumstances when the Supreme Court mandated Oversight Committee is unable to function due to non-cooperation of MCI and the NMC Bill is pending in Parliament and its passage is likely to take some time, certain immediate steps are required to be taken. Accordingly, an ordinance to supersede the MCI has been promulgated and the powers of the council have been vested in a Board of Governors (BoG). The BoG will continue to perform till a Council is constituted as per the provision of the Act in one year time. It may be recalled that a Board of Governors was also appointed in 2010.
Now, the Government has appointed the Board of Governors in supersession of MCI. The Board members include persons of eminence in the medical field namely Dr. V K Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS, New Delhi, Dr. Jagat Ram, Director, PGIMER, Chandigarh, Dr. B N Gangadhar, Director, NIMHANS, Bangalore, Dr. Nikhil Tandon, Professor, Department of Endocrinology & Metabolism, AIIMS, New Delhi who were the members of second OC. Dr. S. Venkatesh, DGHS and Prof.Balram Bhargava, Secretary, DHR & Director General ICMR will be the ex-officio members.
All the BoG members are eminently qualified and apolitical. Further, five of the seven members were the members of the Supreme Court appointed Oversight Committee. It is expected that the BoG will bring about urgent and the much-required reforms in the field of medical education and promote access to quality health care for all the people of India, Shri Nadda said.