In a move that is expected to bring in more transparency in the functioning of Medical Council of India (MCI), the government plans to cap a member’s term in the council to a maximum of two terms, each of five years. In other words, a doctor can be member of the MCI for a maximum of 10 years.
The limit would also be applicable for office-bearers such as president and vice-president of MCI, council members and its executive committee members, a senior official in the health ministry said.
The proposal, drafted by the health ministry based on recommendations of an expert committee, is part of a major restructuring plan for MCI. The proposal has been sent to the parliamentary standing committee on health for its suggestions.
Currently, there is no such limit on the number of terms at MCI for a member. Many argue this leads to high level of corruption at the council which regulates medical education and conduct of doctors across the country.
The ministry’s proposal also suggests raising the qualification threshold for doctors to assume membership of the council. “At present the qualification criteria is very low and anyone who is a MBBS graduate with merely five years of experience can become a member of MCI with nomination from state or constituency,” the official said.
“These members are required to visit and inspect facilities, evaluate conduct of other doctors and set guidelines. With such low qualification they may not be doing justice,” the official said.
The ministry has proposed to raise the qualification level to at least a postgraduate or involve professor rank doctors for high ranking jobs in the council.
The draft restructuring plan also includes classification of MCI into separate verticals based on its three distinct responsibilities — framing norms based on which medical colleges can be set up, inspecting medical colleges and regulating conduct of doctors.
The proposal is likely to give more teeth to Centre, which will have more say while approving decisions of the council, the official said.