The high-powered committee of government’s think-tank Niti Aayog will meet state ministers and officials on September 8 to hold final discussions about overhaul of the Medical Council of India (MCI), after which the process of formulating the final bill would begin, a senior government functionary told The Indian Express.
Earlier this month, the committee, headed by Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya, had submitted its recommendations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, suggesting the council be replaced by a new body — The National Medical Commission — and other reforms for the regulatory body. Modi sought for a comprehensive public consultation, post which the Niti Aayog placed the preliminary report and the draft National Medical Commission Bill, 2016, on its website seeking public views by August 31.
“The meeting will ensure the comprehensive consultation. By the time the meeting is held, views from the public would have arrived,” the official cited above said. Apart from Panagariya, the committee that prepared the report comprises P K Mishra, additional principal secretary to the prime minister; Amitabh Kant, chief executive officer, Niti Aayog; former health secretary B P Sharma; and Secretary of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare C K Mishra.
In its report, the panel suggested that the Centre set up a Medical Advisory Council with one nominated member from every state and two members to represent the Union territories, who would be nominated by the home ministry. The advisory council, as per the committee’s suggestion, would draw the contours of the overall agenda of the medical education and its training in the country.
The proposed bill also moots setting up of the National Medical Commission, which would be a policy-making body for medical education. The commission would comprise a chairperson, nine ex-officio members and 10 part-time members.
A Parliamentary Standing Committee had issued a report in March seeking reform of the MCI, suggesting that it neither “represents professional excellence nor its ethos” and that its design was “opaque” and “biased” which goes against larger public health goals. The report also said that the government virtually had no power to disagree with the MCI.
In May, the Supreme Court endorsed the report and noted that the medical education and profession in the country is at its “lowest ebb” and suffering from “total system failure” due to corruption and decay. The SC also used its rare and extraordinary constitutional powers to establish a three-member committee to supervise the MCI’s functioning for at least one year.