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Ordinance Issued to Allow Panel Supersede Scam-tainted Medical Council of India

Briefing reporters, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the ordinance was cleared by the Union Cabinet Wednesday morning and President Ram Nath Kovind has given his ascent.

PTI

Updated:September 26, 2018, 6:25 PM IST
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Ordinance Issued to Allow Panel Supersede Scam-tainted Medical Council of India
File photo of Medical Council of India building in Delhi.
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New Delhi: An ordinance was issued on Wednesday to allow a committee of eminent professionals run the scam-tainted Medical Council of India till a bill which seeks to replace the body with a new commission is passed by Parliament.

A bill to replace MCI with National Medical Commission is pending in Parliament.

Briefing reporters, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the ordinance was cleared by the Union Cabinet Wednesday morning and President Ram Nath Kovind has given his ascent.

Official source said the ordinance supersedes the MCI and the powers of the council have been vested in a Board of Governors (BoG).

The BoG will continue to perform till a Council is constituted. A similar Board of Governors was also appointed in 2010.

Amid allegations of corruption against MCI office bearers and probes into opaque accreditation to medical colleges, the Supreme Court had in May 2016 directed the government to set up an oversight committee with the authority to oversee all statutory functions of MCI till the new legislation comes in.

Many of MCI members have been accused of taking bribes to fast-track accreditation.

In 2017, another oversight committee was set up with the approval of the top court after expiry of the one year term of the first panel, official sources pointed out.

The second committee was chaired by Dr V K Paul and included eminent doctors including those from AIIMS (Delhi), PGI Chandigarh and NIMHANS.

In July this year, the committee resigned citing instances of "non-compliance of their instructions by MCI". The committee claimed that the MCI had also challenged its authority.

The sources said in a scenario when the SC-apointed panel could not function and the bill to replace MCI awaiting parliamentary nod, certain "immediate steps" were needed.

The Board of Governors include Niti Aayog member V K Paul, AIIMS, Delhi director Randeep Guleria, PGIMER, Chandigarh director Jagat Ram, NIMHANS Bangalore director B N Gangadhar and Nikhil Tandon, professor, Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism at AIIMS here. They were all members of the second oversight committee

Director general health services S Venkatesh and director general ICMR Balram Bhargava will be the ex-officio members.

The sources said all members of the board are eminently qualified and "apolitical".

The National Medical Commission Bill pending in Parliament provides for simplification of procedures and is expected to spur rapid growth in the number of under-graduate and post-graduate seats in the country besides enhancing the governance and quality of medical education, they said.

It also provides for distribution of functions among four autonomous boards whose members would be persons of proven ability selected through a transparent process.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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