The Union health ministry is creating a group of expert faculty from government colleges to provide technical assistance to the Board of Governors (BoG) that superseded the Medical Council of India (MCI), particularly in assessing colleges for registration or renewal of licenses, a senior ministry official said.
Creating a separate and independent corpus for college assessment aims at ensuring complete transparency, in the wake of controversies about a strong nexus between the MCI and private medical colleges over the issue of licenses. Amid corruption charges, the government dissolved the MCI last month.
Apart from helping with college assessment, the expert faculty will also help the BoG with its routine functioning. Health ministry officials are making calls to deans of government medical colleges across the country to shortlist at least a couple of senior faculty members, who are well-versed with the functioning of the medical regulator.
“To maintain complete transparency, there will be a corpus of experienced faculty that will help not only in assessing the applications from colleges but also with day-to-day technical operations to replace the now-defunct undergraduate and postgraduate committees,” said a senior health ministry official, requesting anonymity as the person is not authorized to speak to media.
“The ministry will provide technical assistance to the BoG, at least to begin with, as we have the required expertise. The cadre that we are trying to create will be senior faculty with a good track record in terms of honesty and integrity.”
To ensure transparency, the ministry plans to have a roster system in place.
“The roster will be a secret until the last minute so that no one is aware who will sit for which college’s assessment. This way, medical colleges will not be able to directly approach committee members, and chances of corrupt practices will go down sharply,” the official said.
The committee members will make recommendations to the BoG that is the ultimate deciding authority on anything related to medical education in the country.
“We are open to receiving suggestions from experts, and these committees can be chaired by members of the board. It is not a bad idea as there have been advisory committees earlier also. We will soon plan the structure and number of committees,” said Dr. VK Paul, member, Niti Aayog, who heads the BoG.