Private medical colleges to decide fees for 60% seats

Proposed bill on National Medical Commission moots norms

Private medical colleges to decide fees for 60% seats

The proposed National Medical Commission will give private medical colleges a free hand to determine the fees of 60% seats.

The  NMC would decide the tuition charges of the remaining seats to ensure meritorious students don't miss out on medical education because of poor finance.

The commission  proposed as a replacement to the scam-tainted Medical Council of India – would also do away with the annual inspection of  new colleges for five years.

According to the draft legislation, permission would be required only for the establishment and recognition of a medical college. No annual renewal would be needed and a hike in the number of seats would tplace automaticallyally.

The draft legislation, government sources said, would open up the medical education sector, bringing in new investment, resulting in a rise in the number of undergraduate and postgraduate seats.

To ensure that the quality of education is  not diluted as a quid pro quo, the law would make an exit examination mandatory.

Anyone passing out from any medical college would have to sit in a national licentiate examination to qualify as a practising doctor. The entrance exam  for  MBBS courses would be through the national eligibility cum entrance test that has been mandated by the Centre.

The commission would regulate the medical education sector through four autonomous boards. The boards will report to the NMC, which in turn would seek guidance from the 64-member Medical Advisory Council.

The number of members in both of these bodies has been enhanced from the first draft of the bill, created by an expert panel.

After several rounds of internal consultations, the number of members in the commission has been enhanced to 25 instead of 20 as originally envisaged where the advisory council has been converted into a 64-member body as against 51 in the first draft.

A big difference with the existing law is that MCI office bearers are currently elected from the state council, whereas in the proposed structure, it is a hybrid one with a primacy for a selected member. Also, the penal provision is a steep financial one – 10  times the annual tuition fee – as there would be no provision to cancel the licence of a college.

This is the second attempt by the central government in the past 15 years to replace the MCI.

A previous attempt by the UPA government in the form of the National Commission for Human Resources for Health Bill, 2011, didn't fructify as lawmakers discarded the bill.

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