Setting up NMC (National Medical Commission) may take some time so meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry has proposed setting up a ‘fee guidelines’ draft to the Board of Governor (BoG). The proposal is for streamlining the fees in private medical colleges and deemed universities for UG & PG Medical and Dental Courses.
Currently, the board has the power and authority like MCI (Medical Council of India) till the date NMC is being set up. The BoG has already started consulting with the states and collecting their opinions on private university fee controlling. A senior official of health informed that the BoG has been asked to prepare a draft policy which will supposedly act as a base document by NMC.
The Medical Council of India was already dissolved and a Board of Governors was appointed by the president of India in 2018. Once NMC is set up, the MCI and its existing policies will be abolished completely.
In the National Medical Commission Act 2019, Clause 1 of sub-section (1) under section 10 authorises the Commission to make guidelines for determination of fees and other charges in respect of 50% of seats in the private medical institutions and the deemed to be universities.
The Health Ministery informed the Board of Governors in its letter that the government has started its work to set up the National Medical Commission (NMC), Medical Advisory Council (MAC) and other four autonomous boards which will look after the medical policies and education in the country. For that reason, it is likely to take some time. The letter mentions clearly that the revised or streamlined fees will be imposed on the private medical colleges from 2021-22 academic session and the constitution of the commission will have provisions for standardised fees. The revised fees by NMC will be for all UG and PG medical courses.
The ministry has asked the BoG that they may start drafting the fee structure of private medical colleges from now on for 50% of seats in those institutions in all the states as directed under the NMC act 2019. Doing the draft now will be helpful to enforce the fees from 2021-22 session as soon as NMC is formed. Being one of the high priority policies, the ministry now wants half of the work done before setting up the fully functioning NMC. Apart from the enforcement, the Union Health Ministry has also proposed the private medical and dental colleges for not charging students any fee after the 1st year of admissions.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) ACt 1956 is an ancient act which had no guidelines for fee regulations in the private medical colleges. However, some states in India regulate the fees of private medical colleges through various Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) signed between the state governments and private medical colleges.
There is a bench set up in the Supreme Court consisting of highly experienced retired judges who will constitute decisions to control the fees of private universities in a temporary manner. However, the deemed to be universities in India have claimed that they are not covered by these councils and they are not entitled to the enforcement of their decision.
After setting up of the NMC, the Deemed to be Universities will also come under the commission and they will also have to regulate fees. Current statistics show that 50% of the medical seats in India are government medical college seats which are available at reasonable fees, other 50% of the total medical seats are not covered by reasonable fees as they are governed by private institutions. However, after the implementation of NMC act 2019, the government will fix the fees for 50% of the government medical college seats. This will result in 75% of the medical seats being available to the students at a reasonable price.
The Union Health Minister Mr Harsh Vardhan, has informed that the state government will still have any authority over fixing the fees of 50% private seats remaining as per the MoUs signed between them previously. This decision is taken to protect the federalism of the state of India.