Medical Education Current Affairs

Supreme Court allows Centre to replace MCI oversight committee

The Supreme Court has allowed the Union Government to replace the oversight committee set up to supervise the functioning of the Medical Council of India (MCI) with a fresh panel of five eminent doctors.

The Supreme Court also gave the Government liberty to replace any doctor in the list with another if he does not wish to be a part of the oversight committee.

Earlier, Government had proposed the names of five eminent doctors to replace the earlier members of the oversight committee whose term had just expired.

Background

The Supreme Court using its rare and extraordinary powers under the Article 142 of the Constitution had set up the oversight committee court in May 2016 to oversee the MCI’s functioning for a period of one year or till a suitable mechanism was brought in by the Government to substitute it. The committee was led by former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha.

About Medical Council of India (MCI)

MCI is a statutory body for establishing uniform and high standards of medical education in India. It grants recognition of medical qualifications, gives accreditation to medical schools, grants registration to medical practitioners, and monitors medical practice in India.

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Parliament passes Indian Medical Council (Amendment Bill), 2016

The Parliament has passed Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to conduct of uniform entrance examination for admission to all medical educational institutions.

The bill seeks to replace the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 and its provisions will come in to force retrospectively from May 24, 2016.

Key Features of Bill

  • Introduction of a uniform entrance examination for all medical educational institutions. It will be applicable for admission at the undergraduate and the post-graduate level.
  • If states have not opted for the uniform entrance examination, then the examination will not be applicable at the undergraduate level for the academic year 2016-17.
  • This provision will be applicable to state government seats in government and private medical institutions.
  • The uniform entrance examinations will be conducted in Hindi, English and other languages.
  • Empowers to MCI to frame regulations for (i) the manner of conducting the exams, (i) the authority designated to conduct exams and (iii) Specify languages other than English and Hindi in which the entrance examinations will be conducted.

Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2016

  • Besides, Parliament also passed the Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to conduct of uniform entrance examination for admission to all dental medical educational institutions.
  • The bills seek to amend the Dentists Act, 1948 to replace the ordinance that was promulgated in May 2016.
  • It seeks to keep state boards out of the ambit of National Eligibility Entrance Examination (NEET) for admission BDS courses for academic year 2016-17.

Comment

  • With passage of the bills, admission to medical and dental courses across the country will be done through a single common entrance test i.e. NEET from academic year 2017-18.
  • The NEET has been designed to curb corruption by bringing in transparency, checking multiplicity of exams and to stop exploitation of students in counselling.
  • However it said that this new system will affect rural students as there is no uniform educational syllabus across the country.

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