As setting up of the National Medical Commission may take some more time, the Union Health Ministry has asked the Board of Governors (BoG) to prepare draft guidelines for the fee structure in private medical colleges and deemed universities from the next academic session.
The BoG, which is vested with the powers of the MCI, has now initiated consultations with states and sought their suggestions for framing draft guidelines for the fee structure.
The Board of Governors has been requested to prepare draft guidelines for fee regulation so that it can be used as a base document by NMC, a senior Health Ministry official said.
Once the NMC comes into being, the Medical Council of India will automatically get abolished. The president dissolved the Medical Council of India (MCI) in 2018 and a BoG was appointed to perform its functions. The Clause 1 of sub-section (1) of section 10 of the National Medical Commission Act 2019, empowers the Commission to frame guidelines for determination of fees and all other charges in respect of 50 per cent of seats in private medical institutions and deemed to be universities government under the NMC Act 2019.
In its letter to the BoG, the Health Ministry said it has initiated the process of formation of the National Medical Commission, Medical Advisory Council and the four autonomous Boards and it is likely to take some time. "The Commission on its constitution will also frame guidelines for determination of fee which may be enforced from the academic session 2021-22," the letter reads.
"It has been desired that the BoG may prepare draft guidelines for determination of fees and all other charges of 50 per cent of private medical colleges and deemed universities as envisaged under the NMC Act 2019 so that the Commission on its constitution may utilise the same and so that it can be enforced from the next academic session--2020-21 -- onwards for both UG and PG medical admissions," the letter also reads.
Meanwhile, the ministry has also asked private medical and dental colleges across the country to charge fee for only the first year from students at the time of admission.
The Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 had no provision for regulation of fees in private medical colleges. At present, some states regulate fees of some seats in private colleges through MoUs signed with college managements.
In addition, the Supreme Court has set up committees chaired by retired high court Judges to fix fees in private colleges as an interim measure. Deemed to be Universities claim they are not covered by these committees.
Nearly 50 per cent of total MBBS seats in the country are in government colleges, which have nominal fees. Of the remaining seats, 50 per cent would be regulated by NMC. This means that almost 75 per cent of total seats in the country would be available at reasonable fees.
In the spirit of federalism, the State governments would still have the liberty to decide fees for remaining seats in private medical colleges on the basis of individual MOUs signed with colleges on the basis of mutual agreement, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has earlier said.
The NMC Act, which seeks to usher in mega reforms in the medical education sector, received the assent of the president on August 8 and was notified the same day. The Act provides for setting up of an NMC in place of the Medical Council of India for development and regulation of all aspects of medical education, profession and institutions.
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