25 National Medical Commission (NMC) members have been chosen, inching the Union Health Ministry closer to realising its overhaul of the medical education sector in India.
“25 part-time members, including ten vice-chancellors (VCs) from different states, nine representatives from the state medical councils (SMCs) and four members for the four autonomous boards, were selected,” announced Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan. “We have [had] nine months to select the members of the NMC and within a short span of two months, we have framed the rules, notified those and also carried out the process of selection of the part-time members.”
The NMC will consist of 33 members, advisory boards and a Medical Advisory Council. There will be a combination of full-time and part-time members, serving terms of four and two years respectively, with the latter being rotated.
The NMC replaces the Medical Council of India (MCI). Though controversial and the subject of protests by the medical fraternity, the NMC Bill was passed by parliamentarians in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha and subsequently signed into law by President Ram Nath Kovind. As such, upon the constitution of the NMC, the MCI will be dissolved.
Recruitment efforts commenced earlier this year for key posts, including a chairperson required to be a medical professional with at least twenty years of experience and the four advisory boards. These will consist of the Under-Graduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB), the Post-Graduate Medical Education Board (PGMEB), the Medical Assessment and Rating Board and the Ethics and Medical Registration Board.
Transparency is a key concern of the Commission, Vardhan said. “To ensure probity and integrity of the highest order, a compact body is being selected through a transparent mechanism and representation of the states and state councils in rotation. This will facilitate faster decision making also.”
Vice chancellors were selected from Andhra Pradesh, Dagar and Nagar Haveli, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. Four part-time members for the advisory boards were selected from Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Nagaland, and Tripiura. The nine representatives were chosen from SMCs in Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.
Senior personnel from high-level medical institutions will also be on the Commission. These will include a director of an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS); two directors from the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh; two directors from the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research in Puducherry; two from the Tata Memorial Hospital; two from the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences in Shillong; and two from the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health in Kolkata.
Other personnel staffing the NMC will include an additional secretary and the chairperson, the latter of whom will be chosen by a search committee. According to some reports, AIIMS Delhi director Dr Randeep Guleria has been chosen to sit on the Commission.
Vardhan expressed optimism about the NMC, which he has repeatedly praised as a much-needed reform in order to root out corruption from the medical education sector.
“The whole idea of the NMC Act is to bring about standardisation and good governance,” he told The Hindu in an interview. “This will allow objective, periodic and transparent assessment of medical institutions and facilitate maintenance of a medical register for India and enforce high ethical standards in all aspects of medical services.”