MCI era is over: New regulator for medical education, exit tests for MBBS

According to the Bill, a 25-member commission selected by a search committee headed by the Union Cabinet Secretary will replace the elected MCI.

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Updated: December 16, 2017 7:51 am
medical education, MBBS, MBBS entrance, NMC bill, Medical Council of India, National Medical Commission, medical advisory council, Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Parliament, Friday. (Source: Express photo by Renuka Puri)

The Union Cabinet Friday cleared the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, ending the era of Medical Council of India (MCI) as the apex medical education regulator conducting annual inspections, and paving the way for an exit exam for medical graduates.

According to the Bill, a 25-member commission selected by a search committee headed by the Union Cabinet Secretary will replace the elected MCI.

The move is based on recommendations of the Ranjit Roychowdhury Committee and a Parliamentary standing committee — both concluded that a regulator elected by the fraternity it would monitor cannot be effective.

The Bill also 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), counselling and exit examination.

On the ground, the Bill 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 NMC Bill, 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.

Over the years, there have been numerous allegations about the functioning of MCI, with its system of annual inspections being accused of being “random” and susceptible to corruption.

In 2010, the MCI’s then chairman Dr Ketan Desai was arrested and the council superceded by a Board of Governors. But that stop-gap arrangement did not last long.

Last year, in a chapter on “corruption in MCI” in its 92nd report, the Parliamentary standing committee for Health and Family Welfare said that “…the President, MCI during evidence before the Committee admitted that corruption was there when there was sanctioning of medical colleges, or increasing or decreasing seats”.

“The Committee has also been informed that the private medical colleges arrange ghost faculty and patients during inspections by MCI and no action is taken for the irregularity. The Committee has also been given to understand that MCI is proactive in taking action on flimsy grounds against Government Medical Colleges which are 100% better,” the report said.

For years, private medical colleges have challenged MCI decisions in court and matters have reached such a state that even the role of judges is under the scanner. A few years ago, a former vigilance officer of the council quit, alleging harassment and non-cooperation.

“With technology, it is now easier to keep a check. Almost all colleges have biometric attendance and whether teachers are present or not can be checked in Delhi. But what we are aiming at really is not so much focus on the brick-and-mortar functioning of the college but on the quality of students it produces. Once the licentiate examination starts, performance of students would be an automatic system for rating colleges,” said sources.

A similar system is currently in place for foreign medical graduates. They have to appear for an examination to be able to practice in India, and their performance is a ready reckoner on the quality of foreign medical institutions.

The ex-officio members of the NMC will include the director of AIIMS, New Delhi; Director General of Health Services; and nominees of PGI Chandigarh, JIPMER Puducherry, TMCH Mumbai, and NEIGRIHMS Shillong.

The 64-member medical advisory council will have one member from each state and UT (nominated by the Home Ministry); chairman UGC; director NAAC, etc. There will be four boards under the NMC for UG and PG medical education, ethics, ratings and assessment.

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  1. DR T.S.Chandra Gupta
    Jan 16, 2018 at 7:24 pm
    Dear sir, it was a brief but excellent information. Please keep giving latest information.The question is, who will monitor till NMC Bill completely takes its shape settles to come into force.
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    1. Suraj Patel
      Dec 24, 2017 at 12:47 pm
      : sundayguardianlive /news/12143-bill-will-stop-munnabhais-becoming-mbbs#comment-1285 '''"We can not put our lives at risk in the hands of Quacks produced from the Rubbish Indian Private medical colleges " "Very Good Decision by the Central Government... to replace India''''''''s most most most corrupted regulatory body... MCI.... NEXT (an MBBS exit exam) must be implemented compulsory from the next year to control the production of Quacks doctors from the rubbish Indian private medical colleges which do not have any medical teaching, laboratory, Infrastructures or hospital facilities to give to the medical graduates .....As the Quacks doctors products from this rubbish money minting private medical colleges even do not know how to measure the B. P..... In all Indian private medical colleges the dull and unmeritorious students get an admission every year just on the basis of their parents money...do not even know how to give an intravenous injection......The MODI Govt
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      1. Ananth Narayan
        Dec 17, 2017 at 6:13 pm
        MCI was another public body to be corrupted by politics in our country. Dr. Ketan Desai was the kingpin. With a Commission like leadership, the medical system in our country is heading in the right direction. Add to this with health Insurance, as a checkmate, will end the corruption in our medical system.
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        1. deepak reddy
          Dec 17, 2017 at 4:52 pm
          OVERALL:INSTEAD OF GOING FORWARDS ,WE ARE GOING TEN STEPS BACKWARDS WITH THIS BILL. SUGGESTIONS: 1.EVEN ONE QUALIFIED DOCTOR CAN SAVE MORE LIVES THAN PRODUCING HUNDREDS WITH ONLY THEORY KNOWLEDGE.ALSO ABOLISH RESERVATIONS IN MBBS AND PG (THEY ARE GOING TO TREAT LIVE PATIENTS) 2 CREASE THE PG SEATS MORE THAN UG SEATS.REDUCE DOCTORS STRESSFUL WORK HOURS . 3 STEAD OF HIRING OF SHORT CONTRACT,HIRE THE DOCTORS PERMANENTLY IN GOVT ,SPEND MONEY ON OPENING AND UPGRADING GOVT HOSPITALS 4.GIVE DOCTOR THEIR DEMOCRACY AND RESPECT THEM..PUNISH THOSE WHO ARE FOUND GUILTY ONLY BY LAW. 5.REGULATE TREATMENT COSTS AND CARE IN PRIVATE HOSPITALS.
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          1. deepak reddy
            Dec 17, 2017 at 4:52 pm
            4.PARENTS OF TO BE DOCTORS:Headache ,tension and purse getting thinner without any guarantee your child will become a doctor.You will become a patient before your child becomes a Doctor. 5.EXIT EXAM:300 computer based MCQ asking theortical rare of rarest fancy named diseases which you will not see in practice at all,testing again your mugging and vomiting capacity.LUCK can clear you even if you know nothing(1/4 probability of getting answer correct). 6.DOCTORS:Will be headed by many medicos,who cannot understand the sufferings of a doctor(blame all deaths occuring on a doctor ,thinking doctor is above GOD and can stop death,IT is a science and has limits),leading to confusion . FURSTATED TO KNOW THAT GOVT. RECRUITS ONLY SMALL PRECENTAGE OF DOCTORS ON PERMANENT BASIS AND REST ALL SHORT CONTRACT SERVICE WITH YOUR FUTURE HANGING LIKE KITE 7.PATIENTS:Doctors who are well versed in answering MCQ questions rather than clinical skills,Dont know how to manage a real patient
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            1. deepak reddy
              Dec 17, 2017 at 4:54 pm
              non medicos
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