Govt mulling to dissolve NMC

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Nov 4, 2014-

The government is mulling to dissolve the Nepal Medical Council (NMC) following controversies surrounding inspection and student quota allocation for medical colleges. The NMC is the government body that regulates medical education as well as doctors in the country.

The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has started discussions with concerned officials and experts on the fate of the NMC. The ministry has also floated an alternative to dissolution, an overhaul of the institution.

The ministry decided to take the move after a recent controversy while allocating student seats to various medical colleges. A council meeting on September had decided to stop the admission process at the Janakpur-based Janaki Medical College and to increase student quota for Nepal Army and Kist Medical College in Gwarko from 100 to 150 and 80 to 135, respectively.

However, the decision was criticised after some of the council members said the move was taken under due pressure. The ministry had then investigated into the case and asked the council to take back the decision citing it was “faulty”. Earlier, the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority had also asked the council to be more transparent in its work.

Dr Guna Raj Lohani, chief of Curative Division of the ministry, said with the present structure, the council cannot function effectively to regulate medical education in the country. “Dissolving the existing structure and forming a new one would be a good solution,” he said, adding that the ministry is currently holding discussions on the matter.

NMC President Dr Damodar Gajurel said he has always urged the government to re-structure the council which could give more space to experts. He said though a committee has been formed at the MoHP to revise the NMC Act, no work has been done so far.

The ministry has the jurisdiction to take proposal of council dissolution to the Cabinet. The NMC was formed as per the Nepal Medical Council Act, 1964. According to the Act, the government should first warn the council if it “has been unable to exercise or frequently misused or exercised in excess of its powers”.

If the council members do not cimprove their work, the government can dissolve the body. Following the dissolution, the government can form an “Interim Executive Council” and come up with a new body within three months.

Dr Lohani said during the restructuring process, experts well versed in the medical education system will be given priority. “It is not that we don’t want a democratic council, but the way it is functioning now has been unacceptable,” he said.

The NMC comprises a total of 20 members, of which nine are selected by the government, or more particularly, the MoHP. This appointment is largely political. Among the remaining seats, two are permanent positions claimed by the presidents of the Nepal Medical Association and the Nepal Dental Association. The remaining post holders are selected through election.

Published: 05-11-2014 08:51

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