Cabinet clears new bill to replace MCI, end tainted medical admission process

The Union Cabinet on Friday cleared the national medical commission bill, which seeks to reduce red tape in medical education and give the government a say in fixing fees in up to 40

per cent of seats in private medical colleges.

The bill seeks to replace the existing apex medical education regulator, Medical Council of India, (MCI) with a new body in an effort to increase transparency in the wake of corruption

cases with regard to admissions to medical colleges.

While private medical colleges will still have the power to determine fees for the majority of seats, the fee for 40 per cent of the seats will be decided by NMC, offering applicants some

reprieve from exorbitant fees.

The draft bill, however, offers to ease the processes for colleges to manage undergraduate and postgraduate courses by doing away with the need to have MCI approval for

establishing, renewing, recognising and increasing seats in a UG course.

Under the new proposal, permissions need only be sought for establishment and recognition.

While separate permission would be required for starting a postgraduate course after UG recognition, colleges could start PG courses on their own.

The NMC bill, drafted by a four-member -member committee headed by the Niti Aayog vice-chairman, proposes a common entrance exam and licentiate exam that all medical

graduates will have to clear to practise. The exit exam will be treated as an entrance exam for PG courses. With NEET for MBBS courses and the exit exam, the multiplicity of exams will

end.

The nod for the bill comes in the wake of several complaints against the MCI and its top officials, accused in the past of using its sweeping powers to derecognise medical colleges as

well manipulate admissions to mint money. The new commission will have four boards - for undergraduate and PG medical education, medical assessment and rating, and ethics and

medical registration.

As per the provisions of the draft bill, no permission would be needed to add seats or start PG courses. There will be fewer elected members in the commission. This has attracted the

charge of the NMC being undemocratic but official sources said it would include well-regarded doctors and non-medical experts.