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The end of the Medical Council of India

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 04 December 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k5070
  1. Vivekanand Jha, executive director, professor of nephrology, adjunct professor of medicine123
  1. 1George Institute for Global Health, New Delhi, India
  2. 2University of Oxford, UK
  3. 3University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  1. Correspondence to: Vivekanand Jha vjha{at}

Is the new National Medical Commission just old wine in a new bottle?

India’s government delivered the final blow to the long suffering Medical Council of India (MCI) on 26 September 2018 with the promulgation of a presidential ordinance recommending its dissolution in order to move ahead with its replacement by a National Medical Commission (NMC).1

Successive governments have formed committee after committee to reform the MCI, but their recommendations were not implemented (see box). The tipping point for this government seems to have been reached when the latest reform committee resigned in early September. The reasons given were the MCI’s lack of cooperation with its directions, its refusal to share information in relation to the controversies in the process of assessing medical colleges, and its tardiness in managing admission processes—which led to a large number of postgraduate seats remaining unfilled. Other criticisms included its failure to act against medical professionals charged with unethical practices, and failure to reform medical education.2 The suddenness of this step is underscored by the fact that the government had directed the MCI to hold fresh elections less than before the dissolution,and a few states had even started the process.

Proposed changes

The draft National Medical Commission Bill was introduced in the lower house of the Lok Sabha (India’s parliament) in December 2017.3 Several sections of the bill received criticism, however, …

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