MCI corruption issue

MCI (Medical Council of India) has failed to oversee quality and integrity in health services in the country.
The parliamentary standing committee, in its report, had pointed out :
  • MCI is a biased organisation, acting against larger public health goals. It described the Council as an “exclusive club” of medical doctors from corporate hospitals and private practice.
  • The committee had called for extensive reforms in the MCI and removal of roadblocks to the Common Medical Entrance Test for admission to MBBS and PG courses.
  • Some ex. Of corruption : kickbacks for referrals from doctors, revenue targets at corporate hospitals, and capitation fees in private medical colleges in India.
  • India has far fewer doctors than the WHO recommended minimum doctor population ratio of 1:1000
  • Quality of medical education is at its lowest ebb and the current system is not producing the right type of medical professionals

About MCI:

The Medical Council of India (MCI) is the statutory body for establishing uniform and high standards of medical education in India.
  • The Council grants recognition of medical qualifications, gives accreditation to medical schools, grants registration to medical practitioners, and monitors medical practice in India.
  • The Medical Council of India was first established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1933. The Council was later reconstituted under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 that replaced the earlier Act.

Important functions performed by the council:

  • Establishment and maintenance of uniform standards for undergraduate medical education.
  • Regulation of postgraduate medical education in medical colleges accredited by it.
  • Recognition of medical qualifications granted by medical institutions in India.
  • Recognition of foreign medical qualifications in India.
  • Accreditation of medical colleges.
  • Registration of doctors with recognized medical qualifications.
  • Keeping a directory of all registered doctors (called the Indian Medical Register).

Why reform the MCI?

  • Like a license-raj permit controller, MCI has for long focused too much on licensing of medical colleges and stipulating impractical conditions, while ignoring its other mandate of maintaining ethical conduct in the profession.
  • It has failed to stop the sale of medical seats in private colleges for capitation fees going up to Rs.50 lakh.
  • Over the years, it has emerged as a single, all-powerful agency heavily influenced by corporate hospitals to provide accreditation to institutions and assess their quality, ignoring blatant conflicts of interest.
Issues which needs reform on urgent basis are:
  • Need to reduce the cost of medical education and increase access in different parts of the country.
  • Need to improve the doctor-to-population ratio, which is one for every 1,674 persons, as per the parliamentary panel report, against the WHO-recommended one to 1,000.
  • Need to remove bottlenecks to start medical colleges, such as conditions stipulating the possession of a vast extent of land and needlessly extensive infrastructure, and to considerably rectify the imbalance, especially in underserved States.
  • The primary criterion to set up a college should only be the availability of suitable facilities to impart quality medical education.
  • The development of health facilities has long been affected by a sharp asymmetry between undergraduate and postgraduate seats in medicine.
  • There are only about 25,000 PG seats, against a capacity of 55,000 graduate seats. The Lodha committee will review this gap.
What has happened in this issue:
On grounds of corruption, the MCI faced the ignominy of being set aside by the Supreme Court in 2002 and again in 2010 by an ordinance issued by the government.
  • Seizing the opportunity of the temporary suspension of the elected MCI, the Ministry of Health drafted a Bill to establish a National Commission for Human Resources for Health (NCHRH).
  • This Bill sought to revamp the MCI to consist of nominated bodies to carry out the functions of human resource planning, curriculum development and quality assurance, with the elected body limited to register doctors and govern their practice in accordance with ethical standards.
  • It was laid on the table of the Rajya Sabha in 2011. The PSC returned the Bill with some observations to the Ministry in October 2013.
  • In 2014, another committee under the chairmanship of Dr Ranjit Roy Chaudhury was appointed. This committee submitted its report in February 2015. The latest report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, which was submitted to the Rajya Sabha recently, is in near unanimity with this report.
SC Panel (Justice Lodha committee) will monitor MCI
Supreme Court has set up a three-member committee, headed by former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha, to oversee the functioning of the Medical Council of India (MCI) for at least a year.
  • In doing so, the court has exercised its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution. It empowers the Supreme Court to pass such “decree or order as may be necessary for doing complete justice between the parties”.
Function of Panel:
  • According to the court, the Justice Lodha committee will have the authority to oversee all statutory functions under the MCI Act.
  • All policy decisions of the MCI will require approval of the Oversight Committee.
  • The Committee will be free to issue appropriate remedial directions.
  • The Committee will function till the Central Government puts in place any other appropriate mechanism after due consideration of the Expert Committee Report.
Court has taken this route because government had not acted on the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare. Its report on ‘The functioning of the Medical Council of India’ was tabled in Parliament on March 8, 2016.
Parliamentary Standing Committee report of March 2016 stated that medical education and profession in the country is at its lowest ebb and suffering from total system failure due to corruption and decay.




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