Incorporating the provisions of the ‘agreement' arrived at with the expert group of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to resolve the turf-war over the jurisdiction of medical education, the Human Resource Development Ministry-created task force has revised the Higher Education and Research Bill specifying the role of and giving representation to health and medical education in the proposed body.

The Bill that seeks to establish the National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) has been sent to various Ministries for their comments, and is being keenly studied by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that had strongly opposed the inclusion of medical education under the proposed overarching regulatory body on the ground that it was linked to health services while the NCHER had said that since all education was governed by the university system and there were multi-disciplinary areas of research, all education should come under one regulator. The comments of the Health and Family Welfare Ministry will be crucial in this regard since its National Commission for Human Resources for Health (NCHRH) Bill will have to be revisited if both the Ministries stick to the agreement.

The amended Bill proposes to include the chairperson of the NCHRH as an ex-officio member of the seven-member National Commission for Higher Education and Research. Three members will be whole-time members while the remaining three will be persons of eminence and standing in the field of medical education and research.

The medical education sector will be represented in the General Council by one person, by rotation, from among heads of institutions of national importance in medical education, other than the All-India Institute of Medical Science, New Delhi. The AIIMS will be permanently represented in the General Council.

The General Council will discharge functions related to determination, coordination and maintenance of standards in higher education and research, the re-worked draft says, adding that regulations for the minimum standards will be determined and maintained for equivalence of degree or diploma, norms and processes for establishment of colleges and enrolment of students in so far as they relate to health education by the regulations issued by the National Commission for Human Resources for Health.

The Board for Research Promotion and Innovation, as proposed under the NCHER, will have two persons of eminence and standing in academia with significant and proven contribution to research in medicine and allied fields who will be nominated by the National Commission for Human Resources for Health.

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