Harsh Vardhan says MCI has been a source of corruption, needs clean-up

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in New Delhi on Thursday. (Source: Express photo by Amit Mehra)
Union Health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan Friday said the Medical Council of India (MCI) has been a “big source of corruption” so much so that it has weakened the very edifice of medical education in the country. A clean-up in the medical education regulator, he said, is on the cards.
“For a long time, the MCI has been a big source of corruption…instead of strengthening the component of medical education it has weakened it. I will go into the depth of it. I am not in favour of encroaching on its autonomy but the ministry should monitor and not allow them to be so corrupt.
MCI is a big Pandora’s box, I do not get stuck there right at the beginning. Let me stabilise the other things in a couple of weeks and I will get to the bottom of it,” the minister said.
Making a strong case for the common medical entrance test at undergraduate and postgraduate levels — National Eligibility cum Entrance test (NEET) is now caught in a legal tangle — he said reining in private medical colleges who charge a bomb for a medical degree is the need of the hour.
He said he would evolve stakeholder consensus for compulsory rural posting for doctors and wants integration of AYUSH doctors in the healthcare delivery mechanism to solve the problem of manpower shortage.
But he added he is not in favour of anything less than a full-fledged MBBS degree, signalling that the plan to have rural healthcare professionals with a three year degree as mooted by the UPA government now stands buried for good.
He conceded that shortage of doctors is a big roadblock and that is the principal thing affecting availability of doctors in primary health centres.

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