NEW DELHI: The allegedly-corrupt Medical Council of India (MCI) was on the chopping block for quite some time now. The axe finally fell on Wednesday, when the Centre issued an ordinance, appointing a seven-member committee to run the medical education regulator. The panel will be in charge till the MCI is replaced by the proposed National Medical Commission (NMC).
The board will be headed by Niti Aayog member (health) V K Paul, and will have the directors of AIIMS, New Delhi, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, and National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, among others, as members.
The government was “forced” to take this step after the Supreme Court-appointed oversight committee (OC), meant to monitor the MCI’s functioning, “resigned in disgust” earlier this month, top officials in the Union Health and Family Welfare ministry told TNIE.
“The MCI was non-compliant and non-cooperative throughout, and it was the second time an apex court-appointed OC (the first one was headed by former CJI R M Lodha) put in its papers — so urgent action was needed,” an official in the ministry said. The Supreme Court had appointed the committees due to charges of corruption in the MCI.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Ordinance was signed by the President after the Cabinet passed it on Wednesday. Officials said an urgent “temporary arrangement” has been made till Parliament clears the NMC Bill.
The proposed body will have just five elected representatives. It will also be made mandatory for final year MBBS students to take an exit test, do away with periodic inspections of medical colleges and pre-approvals to increase MBBS seats or starting PG courses. Sources in the government said the move was imperative while MCI members termed it “immature”.