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New bill on Medical Council of India introduced in Rajya Sabha

NEW DELHI: A Bill seeking to empower the government to give directions to the Medical Council of India on key policy matters and reducing the tenure of its President to four years was introduced in Rajya Sabha today. 

Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2013 introduced by Union MinisterGhulam Nabi Azad also allows only two such consecutive terms to the President. Earlier, the MCI President could have a five-year tenure and there was no limit on the number of terms. 

The Bill seeks to replace the Indian Medical Council Amendment Ordinance, 2013 that provided to amend the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 to make it more comprehensive. 

The new Bill also empowers the central government to give such directions to the Medical Council wherever necessary on matters of policy and public importance and for making any regulation. 

The Bill seeks to give government powers to remove the President, Vice President or a member of MCI if found indulging in corrupt practices or abuse of position or proved guilty of misbehaviour. 

The government had no control over the elected body under the present law but has been tightening its hold on the apex medical body after elected MCI body was disbanded in May 2010 and a Board of Governors installed following arrest of Chairman 
Ketan Desai by CBI over charges of corruption. 

The MCI is currently run by a Board of Governors with seven members. 

The new Bill also seeks to recognise the medical qualification and provisional registration of overseas citizens of India. 

It also seeks to amend the Act which recognises the medical practice by persons having medical qualifications granted by medical institutes in any country outside India. 

"The proposed amendments will make the composition of the Council compact, more representative in character, and empower the central government to discharge its functions effectively to ensure proper development of medical education in the country," said the Bill's statement of objects and reasons. 

The changes in the new law governing the apex medical regulator, proposed by the 
Union Health Ministry, include fixing tenure of the President and Vice-president of the elected-body of MCI to a maximum period of four years and allowing only two ontinuous terms. 

The new Bill also makes mandatory renewal of enrolment of doctors every 10 years in the registers maintained by the body or state councils.