Plan to overhaul MCI set in motion

The BJP government has begun work on a major overhaul of the Medical Council of India as it looks to create more medical colleges and produce more doctors to cater to growing healthcare needs.

Sources said during a review meeting of the health sector, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the health ministry had discussed the option of even scrapping the country's apex medical education regulator which has been shrouded in controversy in recent years.

Although sources ruled out such a drastic meas- ure, the government has set up a three-member committee to prepare a blueprint to revamp the current setup. The high-powered committee has Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya, PM's additional principal secretary P K Mishra and Niti Aayog chief executive officer Amitabh Kant as members.

Sources said that at the meeting it was pointed out that the MCI is one of the major stumbling blocks towards a faster expansion, especially when it comes to ensuring quality education.

The development came after the parliamentary standing committee on health and family welfare too had called for a complete overhaul of the medical council as it has repeatedly failed in its mandate as a regulator of medical education and profession.

In its report presented in Parliament last month, the panel has recommended that the Act under which the council was established be scrapped and a new legislation be brought in Parliament "at the earliest".

Sources said that at the PM's meeting, the need for a major focus on increasing the availability of doctors and paramedical staff, es- pecially in the poor per- forming states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, was emphasised.

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