Plans are afoot to split the Medical Council of India (MCI) into a “leaner body” by restructuring it and segregating its powers to separate bodies.
Plans are afoot to split the Medical Council of India (MCI) into a “leaner body” by restructuring it and segregating its powers to separate bodies. Days after a parliamentary standing committee came out with a damning report on MCI, stating its composition was “opaque” and “biased” against larger public health goals, the Union ministry of health is working with the Niti Aayog on its restructuring, at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On the agenda are “smaller and cohesive” bodies having a three-way division of power, with the government having the right to give binding directions.
A four-member committee headed by the Niti Aayog vice-chairperson, with secretary (health), the Niti Aayog CEO and additional principal secretary to the PM as its members, has been constituted and is meeting every week for reviewing the constitution of the medical body so as to maximise its utilisation by its reconstitution. “The committee has to give its report to the PM in the next two months,” sources said.
Sources said that plans are afoot to segregate the powers of the MCI, which would mean-separate bodies for different functions — wherein one could set standards of assessment, the other could deal in ethics of the medical profession.
While the committee is considering more professionals from outside the medical fraternity, they are also viewing to restrict the term of members to a maximum of two years. “The committee is mulling setting a higher eligibility criteria for those from the medical fraternity, which should be minimum professor level. However, if the committee has its way, the ethics body is likely to have a majority of non-medicals,” sources added.
If segregated, the bodies will have different names. With this, the committee is also mulling a better mechanism for recognition of foreign degrees by Indian nationals and the right to practice and teach foreign nationals with degrees from select countries. The committee will also re-work and specify the role of the Centre, state government and the proposed MCI and how will they interact.
Sources claimed that the committee was set up at the behest of the Prime Minister.
In a report presented in the Rajya Sabha recentlty the committee said that the presently elected MCI neither represents “professional excellence nor its ethos”, and that more than half of the members are either from corporate hospitals or in private practice.
The Committee went on to say that the composition of the MCI is “opaque” and “skewed” and diversity needs to be brought into this because having only medical doctors in the Council is not an enabling factor for ensuring reforms in medical education and practice,” said the Committee as it recommended opening Council membership to diverse stakeholders such as public health experts, health economists, health NGOs, patient advocay groups etc.