New Delhi: A proposal to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new body—the National Medical Commission (NMC)—is likely to come up in the cabinet on Friday, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The proposed National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2016 calls for creating a new body to regulate medical education with the government having the right to give binding directions. It will have separate boards for handling different functions pertaining to undergraduate and post-graduate medical courses, and regulations and ethics in the medical profession.

The health ministry worked with NITI Aayog on the MCI’s proposed restructuring at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It suggested a new commission as a policy-making body for medical education comprising a chairperson, nine ex-officio members, 10 part-time members and five elected doctors. There will also be a Medical Advisory Council, to be constituted by the central government. The council, which will be advisory in nature and serve as the main platform through which states will give their views to the commission.

Aimed at reforming the medical education system, the proposal was referred to the group of ministers (GoM) headed by finance minister Arun Jaitely along with cabinet ministers like health minister J.P. Nadda and science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan in March this year. They studied a blueprint drafted by a four-member committee headed by the vice chairman of the NITI Aayog.

According to one of the ministry officials, the new structure will ensure that the government has more leverage. “This will also prevent the system from descending into the present state, where the MCI and government are often at loggerheads on many issues," said an official requesting anonymity.

There are also ex-officio members in the commission that include nominees from the ministry of health, department of pharmaceuticals, human resource development and director general of health services. “The final draft has been pending approval in the cabinet for the last three months. The matter is likely to come in the cabinet tomorrow (Friday)," said an official aware of the matter.

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