Govt sets up panel to examine MCI

Govt sets up panel to examine MCI

Report to be submitted to PM

Govt sets up panel to examine MCI

 The Centre has set up a high-powered committee to find out how the corruption-ridden Medical Council of India (MCI) can be overhauled to improve the quality and number of doctors in India, as recommended recently by a Parliamentary panel.

The committee, which would have to submit its report to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in two months, is now collecting information from doctors and health officials, some of whom have also written to Modi, requesting him to act on the clean up.

“We have helplessly witnessed successive governments inability in handling compromised individuals in the MCI even after being prosecuted and their integrity seriously questioned by no less than the Supreme Court,” says the letter signed by five former health secretaries and at least half-a-dozen eminent doctors.

The three panel members are P K Mishra, additional secretary to the prime minister, Arvind Panagariya, vice-chairperson of the Niti Aayog and Amitabh Kant, chief executive officer of Niti Aayog.

“For the first time, the Parliament has taken cognisance of what MCI is doing suo moto. It is an extraordinary development,” K Sujatha Rao, former health secretary and one of the signatories, told Deccan Herald.

Last month, the regulator came under heavy fire from the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health that accused the MCI of being a corrupt and inefficient outfit, which failed to improve the standards of medical education in India.

From sliding standards at under-graduate and post-graduate medical education to succumbing to the pressure from pharmaceutical industries, the regulator failed to satisfy lawmakers, who asked the health ministry to stem the rot and reform the council.
In their letter, the doctors and former bureaucrats describe MCI as “highly corrupt and shameful” organisation that “brazenly allows private medical institutions to run as business ventures with ghost faculty and fake patients”.

They gave a number of suggestions to the panel on how the medical education system would function if MCI is suspended by the government.

Public health officials, however, are curious to know whether Mishra panel would tackle the powerful lobby of the private medical college owners involving several politicians.
While applauding the Parliamentary panel for its report, an editorial in the prestigious British Medical Journal, however, says: “The report overlooks the complicity of ruling politicians, many of whom own private medical colleges.”

A previous exercise by the UPA government to replace the MCI with another regulatory body came to a nought after lawmakers rejected the National Commission for Human Resources on health bill that seeks to create the regulatory body.

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