New Delhi: The Cabinet on Friday approved the draft National Medical Commission Bill, 2017, which seeks to replace the existing apex medical education regulator Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new body to ensure transparency.
The draft bill provides for the constitution of four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting undergraduate and postgraduate education, assessment and accreditation of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under the National Medical Commission, a senior government functionary said, according to PTI.
According to the draft bill, the commission will have government nominated chairman and members, and the board members will be selected by a search committee under the Cabinet Secretary. There will five elected and 12 ex-officio members in the commission.
The National Medical Commission Bill, 2017 provides for the introduction of a licentiate (exit) examination within three years of its passage by Parliament. Such a move would make the medical sector the first in the country’s higher education system to have a common entrance test (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test - popularly known as NEET), counselling and exit examination.
On the ground, the National Medical Commission Bill, 2017 represents a radical shift from the present system in which medical colleges are subject to annual inspections on physical, infrastructural and bed-patient norms.
Under the NMC, which includes a Medical Advisory Council where states will be represented, colleges need permission only once for establishment and recognition. Apart from removing the need for annual renewal of recognition, colleges can, on their own, increase the number of seats subject to the present cap of 250, and start PG courses. The Medical Assessment and Rating Board constituted by the central government can, however, conduct inspections.
Under the National Medical Commission Bill, 2017, if a college is found to be in violation of norms, such as those governing teachers, laboratories, patients, etc., it can be fined sums ranging from half of the cumulative fees it charges from students to 10 times that amount.
The deterrence for non-compliance with maintenance of standards is in terms of monetary penalty. The draft bill is aimed at bringing reforms in the medical education sector which has been under scrutiny for corruption and unethical practices, the official said.