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Lok Sabha Passes Indian Medical Council Bill

Two major healthcare Bills, one was passed by Lok Sabha and another was introduced in Rajya Sabha on Monday. The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill 2018 to allow a panel of eminent professionals to run the scam-tainted Medical Council of India (MCI) was passed by the Lower House while the Bill aimed at regulating and standardizing the education and services provided by allied and healthcare professionals was introduced in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill passed by the Lower House seeks to replace an ordinance issued in this regard in September this year. Piloting the Bill, Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda said this Bill supersedes MCI and the powers of the council have been vested in a Board of Governors (BoG). The BoG have all eminent personalities and include directors of AIIMS and PGI, Chandigarh. This board will continue to perform till a Council is constituted, Nadda said. “This Bill has been issued so that medical education can be regulated in best manner, as MCI turned out to be massive failure,” he said.

The Minister, while speaking on the Bill, said the parliamentary panel on Health in its report also cautioned that any attempt to overhaul the medical regulatory system in the country will face huge challenges. He suggested that government was forced to come up with this Bill as the oversight committee formed by the Government on suggestion of the Supreme Court resigned and the MCI could not function. Thereafter the Government came with an ordinance. Many of MCI members have been accused of taking bribes to fast-track accreditation. Meanwhile, the Bill aimed at regulating and standardizing the education and services provided by allied and healthcare professionals was introduced in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill provides for setting up of an Allied and Healthcare Council of India and corresponding State Allied and Healthcare Councils, which will play the role of a standard-setter and facilitator for such professions, an official statement stated. “Introduced the Allied & Healthcare Professions Bill, 2018 in Rajya Sabha to provide regulation & maintenance of standards of education & services by allied & healthcare professional,” Nadda later tweeted.

The Union Cabinet had recently approved the Bill. As per the Bill, there will be 15 major professional categories including 53 professions in allied and healthcare streams. Offences and penalties clauses have been included in the Bill to check the malpractices. The Bill provides for structure, constitution, composition and functions of the Central Council and State Councils like framing policies and standards, regulation of professional conduct, creation and maintenance of live registers, provisions for common entry and exit examinations among others. Professional advisory bodies under central and state councils will examine issues independently and provide recommendations relating to specific recognized categories. The Bill will also have an overriding effect on any other existing law for any of the covered professions. It is estimated that the proposed legislation will directly benefit around 8-9 lakh existing allied and healthcare professionals in the country and several other graduating professionals joining the workforce annually and contributing to the health system. – Daily Pioneer