The government has promulgated an ordinance to extend the term of the Board of Governors of the Medical Council of India by six months. The board, too, has been reconstituted and will now be headed by R.K. Srivastava, former Director General of Health Services.

The ordinance was promulgated as the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2013, which was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in March this year, could not be taken up for consideration and passing, and the term of the present board ended on May 14, 2013.

Though the board has been given an extension, the provisions of the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2013 have been modified so that the Board can exercise the powers of the Council till the Central government is able to reconstitute it within 180 days.

In other words, the government will have to reconstitute the Council at the latest by November 10, 2013.

As regards the composition of the Council, the amended Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 provides for separate representation to the Union territories and more representation to Health universities, depending upon the number of medical colleges affiliated to them. The term of president, vice president, as well as an ordinary member will now be restricted to two years.

The provisions of the existing Act have been amended to allow Overseas Citizens of India to practise medicine in the country and the restriction on foreign doctors to practise only for the purpose of teaching, research or charitable work stands removed. The amendments would enable the government to give directions to the Council on policy matters.

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