With the government bringing in an ordinance to take over the functioning of the Medical Council of India (MCI), the regulatory body for medical education, the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare and the Human Resource Development will meet next week to discuss the MCI the jurisdiction of which is a bone of contention between the two proposed overarching regulatory bodies for higher education — the National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER), piloted by the HRD Ministry and National Council for Human Resources in Health promoted by the Health Ministry.

Union Health and Family Welfare Secretary Sujatha Rao has written to the Union HRD Secretary seeking discuss the issue. Both the bodies are keen to keep the MCI under their purview with the Health Ministry, insisting that the medical education be kept with the National Council for Human Resources in Health.

In her letter, Ms. Rao raised a few queries regarding affiliations to the medical colleges to the universities if the universities are brought under the purview of the NCHER, on the role of the Medical Council of India in granting licenses to medical institutions and drafting of syllabus, as also whether there would be conflict in medical colleges and hospital management to which these colleges are attached.

She also raised the issue of the government's commitment on setting up a National Council for Human Resources in Health (NCHRH) as announced by the President in the opening session of Parliament last year.

The proposed NCHER will be an overarching body for higher and technical education and research which will subsume all regulatory bodies. Agricultural education has been kept out being in the State list while the Bar Council of India, too, is opposed to pushing legal education under the NCHER.

In all likelihood, the government will split the MCI bringing education under the purview of the NCHER while the licensing and hospital management will remain with the National Council for Human Resources in Health.

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