Constitutional and Quasi-judicial Bodies (Part-7)

Medical Field Related Bodies

Medical Council of India

The Medical Council of India, a statutory body, was established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1933 with the main function of establishing uniform standards of higher qualifications in medicine and recognition of medical qualifications in India and abroad. The council was later reconstituted under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 that replaced the earlier Act of 1933. This was further modified in 1964, 1993 and 2001.

The council is constituted of the following members:

(a) One member from each state other than a union territory to be nominated by the central government in consultation with the state government concerned.

(b) One member from each university to be elected from amongst the members of the medical faculty of the university by members of the senate of the university or in case the university has no senate, by members of the court.

(c) One member from each state in which a state medical register is maintained.

(d) Seven members to be elected from amongst themselves by persons enrolled on any of the state medical registers.

(e) Eight members to be nominated by the central government.

The objectives of the council are as follows.

(i) Maintenance of uniform standards of medical education, both undergraduate and postgraduate.

(ii) Recommendation for recognition/de-recognition of medical qualifications of medical institutions of India or foreign countries.

(iii) Permanent registration/provisional registration of doctors with recognised medical qualifications.

(iv) Reciprocity with foreign countries in the matter of mutual recognition of medical qualifications.

(v) Accreditation of medical colleges.

(vi) Registration of doctors with recognised medical qualifications.

(vii) Keeping a directory of all registered doctors (called the Indian Medical Register).

Restructuring MCI

The Working Group on Education in the Field of Medical Education constituted by the National Knowledge Commission in 2006 presented a detailed report regarding the autonomy and functioning of MCI as a regulatory authority.

According to the working group an increasingly globalising world demands a dynamic, responsive to change and well-informed, autonomous regulatory body to meet the emerging challenges for initiating, promoting, monitoring and enforcing standards of medical education at all levels across the country. This body should be charged with the responsibility of directing, accreditating, standardising, regulating and assessing medical/health oriented education and the manpower needs of all strata of the healthcare system. Such a body should have genuine autonomy provided with adequate authority and managed by highly qualified medical educationists with a record of integrity and proven credentials. It should function as a truly autonomous statutory body and not simply as a recommendatory body to the central government as is the present Medical Council of India. The working group recommended that the MCI should be independent of government control and provided teeth to discharge the responsibilities that it is charged with.

On the basis of the experience of the functioning of the MCI in the past the working group further recommended as follows.

  • The regulatory body for medical education should have a full time chairman, supported by well qualified staff and acknowledged leaders in medical education along with representatives from the social sciences, including educational pedagogy, scientists, experts in information technology, leaders of public opinion and the community.
  • Instead of creating a new structure, it may be desirable to revamp, strengthen, enlarge the scope and empower with well-defined accountability the existing Medical Council of India to discharge these responsibilities with suitable amendments in the act.
  • A three member search committee may be formed headed by the Vice President of India including a scientist/educationist and Lok Sabha speaker, to select the chairman, who will be a professional. The process of selection of the chairman of the body must be given significant importance. It should not be decided through election, or through nomination.
  • The chairman will be accountable to the overarching regulatory body for higher education.
  • Terms of appointment for the chairman may be 5 years and for the members 3 years, half of the members to be changed every 3 years. Members need to be appointed by the chairman and a selection committee.
  • Notwithstanding the current limitations faced by the council, it would be possible to initiate upgrading its functioning immediately.
  • Robust linkages with the ministry of health and family welfare and the health care delivery system must be ensured.

Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), a statutory body, is the national regulatory body for Indian pharmaceuticals and medical devices. It is the central drug authority for discharging functions assigned to the central government under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

In the CDSCO, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) regulates pharmaceutical and medical devices. The DCGI is advised by the drug technical advisory board (DTAB) and the drug consultative committee (DCC). It is divided into zonal offices which do pre-licensing and post-licensing inspections, post-market surveillance, and recalls when needed.

Under the Drug and Cosmetics Act, the regulation of manufacture, sale and distribution of drugs is primarily the concern of the state authorities while the central authorities are responsible for approval of new drugs, clinical trials in the country, laying down the standards for drugs, control over the quality of imported drugs, coordination of the activities of state drug control organisations and providing expert advice with a view of bring about the uniformity in the enforcement of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

The functions of the CDSCO are as follows.

(i) Regulatory control over the import of drugs, approval of new drugs and clinical trials, meetings of drugs consultative committee and drugs technical advisory board, approval of certain licences as central licence approving authority is exercised by the CDSCO.

(ii) Zonal offices carry out joint inspections and coordinate with the state drugs controllers under their jurisdiction.

(iii) Quality control of drugs imported is exercised by the port offices.

(iv) Drugs testing laboratories test drug samples forwarded to them for test.

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), a statutory regulatory body, was established by the Government of India by the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995, under the provisions of section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. The headquarters of the authority is at New Delhi. Its tasks are price fixation/revision and other related matters such as updating the list of drugs under price control by inclusion and exclusion on the basis of the established criteria/guidelines.

The authority consists of a chairperson in the status of the secretary to the Government of India, members having expertise in the field of pharmaceuticals, economics and cost accountancy and member secretary in the status of joint secretary/ additional secretary to the Government of India.

The authority is empowered to take final decisions, which shall be subject to review by the central government as and when considered necessary. The authority also monitors the prices of decontrolled drugs and formulations and oversees the implementation of the provisions of the drugs (prices control) order. The other functions of the authority are to implement and enforce the provisions of the drugs (prices control) order in accordance with the powers delegated to it; to deal with all legal matters arising out of the decisions of the authority; to monitor the availability of drugs, identify shortages, if any, and to take remedial steps; to collect/ maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies etc, for bulk drugs and formulations; to undertake and/ or sponsor relevant studies in respect of pricing of drugs/ pharmaceuticals; to recruit/ appoint the officers and other staff members of the authority, as per rules and procedures laid down by the government; to render advice to the central government on changes/ revisions in the drug policy; and to render assistance to the central government in the parliamentary matters relating to the drug pricing.

Central Council of Indian Medicine

The Central Council of Indian Medicine is a statutory body constituted under the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970 for framing and implementing various regulations including the curricula and syllabii in Indian systems of medicine, viz., Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani at under-graduate and post-graduate level.

The president of the central council is elected by the members of the central council from amongst themselves. There is a vice-president for each of the Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani systems of medicine who is elected from amongst themselves by members representing that system of medicine.

The functions of the central council are to prescribe minimum standards of education in Indian systems of medicine, viz., Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani; to advise central government in matters relating to recognition (inclusion/withdrawal) of medical qualification in/from second schedule to Indian Medicine Council Act, 1970; to maintain a central register on Indian medicine and revise the register from time to time; and to prescribe standards of professional conduct, etiquette and code of ethics to be observed by the practitioners.

Dental Council of India

The Dental Council of India, a statutory body, was constituted on April 12, 1949 under the Dentists Act, 1948. The Council is financed mainly by grants from the Union ministry of health and family welfare. The other source of income of the council is the 1/4th share of fees realised every year by various state dental councils.

The council is constituted of one registered dentist; one member elected from amongst themselves by the members of the Medical Council of India; not more than four members elected from among themselves, by principals, deans, directors and vice-principals of dental colleges in the states; heads of dental wings of medical colleges in the states; one member from each university established by law in the States which grants as recognised dental qualification, to be elected by the members of the senate of the university; one member to represent; six members nominated by the central government; and the director general of health services, ex officio.

Objectives of the council are maintenance of uniform standards of dental education—both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels inspections/visitations of dental colleges for permission to start dental colleges, increase of seats, starting of new P.G. courses; to prescribe the standard curricula for the training of dentists, dental hygienists, dental mechanics and the conditions for such training; to prescribe the standards of examinations and other requirements to be satisfied to secure for qualifications recognition under the act.

To achieve the above objectives the needs are: uniformity of curriculum standards of technical and clinical requirements, standards of examinations; a uniform standard of entrance to various courses in dentistry; affiliation of every dental college to an university; supervision over all the dental institutions to ensure that they maintain the prescribed standards; and regulation of the profession of dentistry.

Pharmacy Council of India

The Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) is a statutory body governed by the provisions of the Pharmacy Act, 1948, with the objective to regulate pharmacy education in the country for the purpose of registration as a pharmacist under the Pharmacy Act and to regulate the profession and practice of pharmacy.

The council is constituted of six members, among whom there shall be at least one teacher of each of the subjects, pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacy, pharmacology and pharmacognosy elected by the University Grants Commission; six members, of whom at least four to be persons possessing a degree or diploma in, and practising pharmacy or pharmaceutical chemistry, nominated by the central government; one member elected from amongst themselves by the members of the Medical Council of India; the director general, health services, ex officio or if he is unable to attend any meeting, a person authorised by him in writing to do so; the drugs controller, India, ex officio; the director of the central drugs laboratory, ex officio; a representative of the University Grants Commission and a representative of the All India Council for Technical Education; one member to represent each state elected from amongst themselves by the members of each state council, who shall be a registered pharmacist; one member to represent each state nominated by the state government.

The functions of the council are as follows.

(i) To prescribe minimum standard of education required for qualifying as a pharmacist.

(ii) Framing of education regulations prescribing the conditions to be fulfilled by the institutions seeking approval of the PCI for imparting education in pharmacy.

(iii) To ensure uniform implementation of the educational standards through out the country.

(iv) Inspection of pharmacy institutions seeking approval under the pharmacy act to verify availability of the prescribed norms.

(v) To approve the course of study and examination for pharmacists i.e. approval of the academic training institutions providing pharmacy courses.

(vi) To withdraw approval, if the approved course of study or an approved examination does not continue to be in conformity with the educational standards prescribed by the PCI.

(vii) To approve qualifications granted outside the territories to which the pharmacy act extends i.e. the approval of foreign qualification.

(viii) To maintain central register of pharmacists.

Central Council of Homoeopathy

Central Council of Homoeopathy (CCH) is a statutory apex body under the Union ministry of health and family welfare, department of Indian systems of medicine and homoeopathy. The council was set up under the Central Council of Homoeopathy Act 1973.

CCH prescribes and recognises all homoeopathic medicine education in India; any university or medical institutions desiring to grant a medical qualification in homeopathy is required to apply to the council. It prescribes course curriculum, evolves standards of education and maintains central registers of homoeopathy physicians.

The president and the vice-president of the council are elected by the members of the council from amongst themselves.

The council aims to evolve uniform standards of education in homoeopathy and the registration of practitioners of homoeopathy. The registration of the practitioners on the central register of homoeopathy ensures that medicine is not practiced by those who are not qualified in this system, and those who practice, observe a code of ethics in the profession.

Indian Nursing Council

The Indian Nursing Council is an autonomous statutory body constituted under the Indian Nursing Council Act, 1947 of Parliament in order to establish a uniform standard of training for nurses, midwives and health visitors. The president of the council is elected by the members of the council from among themselves.

The functions of the council are as follows.

(i) To establish and monitor a uniform standard of nursing education for nurses midwife, auxiliary nurse- midwives and health visitors by doing inspection of the institutions.

(ii) To establish and monitor a uniform standard of nursing education for nurses midwife, auxiliary nurse- midwives and health visitors by doing inspection of the institutions.

(iii) To recognise the qualifications under the Indian Nursing Council Act, 1947 for the purpose of registration and employment in India and abroad.

(iv) To give approval for registration of Indian and foreign nurses possessing foreign qualification under the Indian Nursing Council Act, 1947.

(v) To prescribe minimum standards of education and training in various nursing programmes and prescribe the syllabus and regulations for nursing programmes.

(vi) To withdraw the recognition of qualification in case the institution fails to maintain its standards.

(vii) To advise the state nursing councils, examining boards, state governments and central government in various important items regarding nursing education in the country.

(viii) To regulate the training policies and programmes in the field of nursing.

(ix) To recognise institutions/organi-sations/universities imparting master’s degree/bachelor’s degree/P.G. diploma/ diploma/certificate courses in the field of nursing.

(x) To recognise degree/diploma/ certificate awarded by foreign universities/ institutions on reciprocal basis.

(xi) To promote research in nursing.

(xii) To maintain Indian nurses register for registration of nursing personnel.

(xiii) To prescribe code of ethics and professional conduct.

(xiv) To improve the quality of nursing education.

Veterinary Council of India

The Veterinary Council of India is a statutory body established under the ministry of agriculture of the Government of India by the Indian Veterinary Council Act, 1984. The Council has 27 members (14 nominated, 11 elected and 2 ex-officio).

The functions of the council are as follows.

(i) To prepare and maintain the Indian veterinary practitioners’ register containing the names of all persons who possess the recognised veterinary qualifications and who are for the time being enrolled on a state veterinary register of the state to which Indian Veterinary Council Act extends.

(ii) To lay down minimum standards of veterinary education required for granting recognised veterinary qualifications by veterinary institutions.

(iii) To recommend recognition or withdrawal of recognition of veterinary qualifications granted by veterinary institutions in India.

(iv) To lay down the standards of professional conduct, etiquette and code of ethics to be observed by veterinary practitioners.

(v) To negotiate with institutions located in other countries imparting training in veterinary education for recognition of their qualifications on reciprocal basis.

(vi) To regulate veterinary practice in the country.

(vii) To advise the central and the state governments on all regulatory matters concerning veterinary practice and education.

(viii) To frame regulations.

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