Its functions will include maintaining quality of medical education along with accelerating reforms already initiated in the sector

Abolishing the Medical Council of India (MCI), the central government today brought into existence the long-awaited National Medical Commission (NMC), a body to regulate medical education in the country. The new body came into being an year after it was approved by the Parliament. The government also constituted four autonomous boards.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare highlighted the development on Twitter. It wrote, “Historic reform in MEDICAL EDUCATION: National Medical Commission (NMC) chaired by Dr S C Sharma (retd. Prof, ENT, AIIMS, Delhi) constituted today, along with 4 Autonomous Boards. With this, the Medical Council of India (MCI) stands abolished.”

The ministry said that the NMC will take forward the reforms initiated by the Board Governors under Dr V K Paul, Member Niti Aayog. It wrote, “Dr R K Vats will continue to work as Secretary of the NMC.”

The new regulatory body will elect its members purely on ‘merit basis,’ as opposed to the MCI which had elections, it said.

The main functions of the body will include providing quality of medical education along with accelerating reforms in medical education initiated over the last 6 years.

The Health Ministry, on Twitter, wrote, “Already, the number of MBBS seats increased approx. by 48% from 54000 to 80,000; and PG seats by 79% from 24000 to 54000.”

The ministry later released an official statement regarding the same. Calling it a ‘historic reform,’ the ministry said that it will take the medical education towards a transparent system.

“This historic reform will steer medical education towards a transparent, qualitative and accountable system. The basic change that has happened is that the Regulator is now 'selected' on merits, as opposed to an 'elected' Regulator. Men and Women with impeccable integrity, professionalism, experience and stature have been now placed at the helm to steer the medical education reforms further,” the ministry said in a statement.

Along with NMC, four autonomous boards - the UG and PG Medical Education Board, Medical Assessment and Rating Board, and Ethics and Medical Registration Board - have also been constituted to help the NMC in day-to-day functioning, the ministry said.

The boards have been constituted to oversee undergraduate and postgraduate education, accreditation and assessment, and the matters related to ethics and professional conduct of doctors.

According to the statement, the NMC will work towards further streamlining regulations, rating of institutions, HR assessment and focus on research. It will also ensure the common final year exam after MBBS (NEXT- National Exit Test) to serve for both registration and PG entrance.

The body will prepare guidelines for fee regulation by private medical colleges. The commission will develop standards for Community Health Providers to serve in primary healthcare with limited practicing licence.

The NMC has been constituted following Parliament’s decision to pass the National Medical Commission Act, 2019 in August, 2019.