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Medical colleges to face Rs 1 crore fine for violating norms

Doctors, department heads or institute heads could face penalties of up to Rs 5 lakh for submitting false documents

New Delhi. : The National Medical Commission (NMC) has introduced a penalty of Rs 1 crore for medical colleges failing to comply with course norms — statutory provisions, regulations, and minimum standards — set by the apex medical education regulator.

Additionally, doctors, department heads or institute heads could face penalties of up to Rs 5 lakh for submitting false documents, reads the latest notification ‘Maintenance of Standards of Medical Education Regulations, 2023’.

“The regulator has introduced such a monetary penalty for the first time. The move is likely to ensure better compliance with norms as several government and private colleges have been facing a faculty shortage. Several government-run colleges, established over the last few years, also do not comply with these norms,” said Dr M C Misra, former director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.

Under the new regulations, strict action would be taken against violators, such as withholding accreditation of medical colleges, withdrawing accreditation up to five years, and halting admission to one or more courses. The National Medical Commission or autonomous boards could also initiate criminal proceedings for furnishing false information or documents. 
With the number of medical colleges on the rise in the country, and fewer physical inspections, experts say the provisions for monetary penalty will help in increasing compliance to norms of the number of faculty members required, number of patients required, and proper physical infrastructure. 
“Any attempt to pressurise UG (undergraduate) / PG (postgraduate) board or NMC through individuals or agencies concerned would lead to an immediate halt of the processing of all applications / requests by the medical institution,” reads the regulation, adding that action would be initiated after medical institutions are given “reasonable opportunity to rectify their deficiencies”. 
Authorities of all the medical colleges have been asked to provide the annual disclosure report (ADR) and other documents required by boards to verify whether colleges are following the norms.

The central government has also introduced a command centre to keep a tab on faculty members, their attendance, patients at outpatient clinics as well as undergoing surgeries. This centre uses a network of CCTV cameras that each medical college has to install at key points such as OPD (outpatient department) entrance, data from hospital information management system, and Aadhaar-based biometric attendance system for the staff to check all the requirements.

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