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Indian Medical Council Amendment Bill 2018

Indian Medical Council Amendment Bill 2018

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  • GS 2 || Governance || Adminstrative Bodies || Regulatory

 Why in News?

  • Lok Sabha passes Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018
  • The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018 that aims to run the scam-tainted Medical Council of India (MCI) through a panel of eminent professionals.

 Basic Info-Medical Council of India

  • The Medical Council of India (MCI) is the statutory body for establishing uniform and high standards of medical education in India. The Council grants recognition of medical qualifications, gives accreditation to medical schools, grants registration to medical practitioners, and monitors medical practice in India.

 Features of the Bill

  • It amends the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 which sets up the MCI that regulates medical education and practice.
  • In the interim period, the central government will constitute a 7- member Board of Governors (BoG).
  • The powers of the Council have been vested in the BoG led by the NITI Aayog Member.
  • The BoG will continue to perform till an alternative comes into place as per the legal provisions in one year time.
  • Members: The MCI has elected members from the medical fraternity

 Timeline

  • Parliamentary Committee
    • There were some serious concerns with the functioning of the MCI.
    • A 2016 Parliamentary Standing committee report noted that mere incremental alterations to MCI would not give the expected results.
  • Supreme Court
    • In May 2016, the Supreme Court had set up a three-member oversight committee.
    • With one year tenure, the committee, headed by former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha, was to guide the MCI in its functioning.
    • The Lodha oversight committee, at the end of its term, submitted a report.
    • It detailed how the MCI openly defied the oversight committee’s directives. Despite this, the Centre, instead of scrapping the MCI, in July 2017, proposed setting up a new oversight committee to the SC.
    • In July 2018, this oversight committee members resigned, citing noncompliance of their instructions by the MCI.
  • Bill
    • The government introduced the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2017, in the Lok Sabha, in December, 2017.
    • This Bill, to replace the MCI with a National Medical Commission, is pending in Parliament.
    • Given all these, the government is now forced to issue the ordinance.

 Key issues regarding the regulation of medical education and practice?

  • Separation of regulatory powers-MCI is overly centralized, all kinds of power are given to MCI.
  • Conflict of interest- With most members of the MCI being elected, there has been a conflict of interest where the regulated elect the regulators, preventing the entry of skilled professionals for the job.
  • Fee Regulation- MCI regulates the fees of private colleges.
  • Professional conduct- The Committee recommended that the areas of medical education and medical practice should be separated in terms of enforcement of the appropriate ethics for each of these stages.

 Way Forward

  • The Board of governors (BoG) is likely to make the much-required reforms.
  • The government must now move urgently on bringing the NMC Bill.
  • There were some concerns with the Bill in its current form despite amendments to accommodate some of them.

 Additional Info- National Medical Commission Bill, 2017

The Bill seeks to repeal the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and provide for a medical education system which ensures

  • Availability of adequate and high quality medical professionals
  • Adoption of the latest medical research by medical professionals
  • Periodic assessment of medical institutions
  • An effective grievance Redressal mechanism

 Mains Question

  • What is Medical council Bill (MCI) and what are the provisions of the bill?