The government on Thursday tabled the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha, to replace the Ordinance promulgated on May 15 this year that superseded the Medical Council of India (MCI).

The Bill provides for reconstitution of the Council within one year from the date of its supersession, until which time a Board of Governors shall exercise the powers and perform the functions of the Council.

It has been decided to empower the Central government to issue policy directives to the Board of Governors or the Council, as the case may be. This has been done to bring in transparency and accountability in the functioning of the Council, according to the statement of objects and reasons of the Bill.

The MCI's main function is to make recommendations to the Central government on matters of recognition of medical qualifications, determining the courses of study and examinations required to obtain such qualifications, inspection of examinations and maintenance of register of medical practitioners.

However, the Act did not contain any enabling provision for taking over the powers of the president or superseding the Council in case it was required, and as had happened when its president was arrested on charges of corruption.

It has, therefore, been considered necessary to entrust the affairs of the MCI to a Board of Governors, consisting of eminent doctors, till such time the Council is reconstituted or altogether a new set-up such as the National Council for Human Resources in Health as an overarching regulatory body is established by suitable legislation, the amendment Bill says.

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