To expedite formation of the two — the former promoted by HRD Ministry and latter by Health Ministry

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has asked the Ministries of Human Resource Development and Health and Family Welfare to identify linkages between the two proposed regulatory bodies — National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) and the National Commission on Human Resource for Health (NCHRH) — being promoted by them respectively to speed up the process of setting up the two authorities.

Both the Ministries have been given time up to Friday next to resolve issues and work to form common grounds for coexistence. The PMO is keen on the resolution as the Medical Council of India (Amendment) Act, 2010 ends on May 15 and it is important that a mechanism is in place before that.

The Prime Minister is said to have already expressed his ‘agreement' with the NCHER.

The two Ministries have been fighting a turf war for more than a year now with the task force, set up by the HRD Ministry, bringing all higher education, including medical education and legal education under the purview of an overarching regulatory body — the NCHER — while the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been opposing it tooth and nail saying that medical education was closely linked with health infrastructure and should come under the ambit of the NCHRH.

While both the Ministries claim that the draft bills for NCHER and NCHRH are ready to be placed before the Cabinet, neither have been able to do so because of possibility of overlapping and lack of clarity.

With several attempts made earlier to make the two Ministries come to a consensus having failed, the PMO on Friday convened a meeting of the HRD task force members and experts from the Health and Family Welfare Ministry (since the task force that drafted the NCHRH Bill has been disbanded) to thrash out the issues in the presence of T.K.A. Nair, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.

After both the sides placed their version, Mr. Nair asked them to find a common ground for the existence of both the Commissions. One possible way could be cross representation, the second could be bringing the medical colleges and research under the purview of the NCHER while the related health infrastructure and services, accreditation, ethics and maintenance of medical registers could remain with the NCHRH. There was also a suggestion that bodies such as the National Board of Examinations that are outside the university system could be central to NCHRH.

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