On November 22, 2018, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister, has approved the Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 20181, for regulation and standardization of education and services by allied and healthcare professionals. The Bill provides for setting up of an Allied and Healthcare Council of India and corresponding State Allied and Healthcare Councils which will play the role of bench-markers and facilitators for professions of Allied and Healthcare.
Allied and Healthcare Professionals (A&HPs) constitute an important element of the human resource health network. Skilled and efficient Allied and Healthcare Professionals (A&HPs) can reduce the cost of care and dramatically improve the accessibility to quality driven healthcare services. Therefore, it is estimated that the Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2018, will directly benefit around 8-9 lakh existing Allied and Healthcare related professionals in the country and several other graduating professionals joining workforce annually and contributing to the health system. Since this Bill is directed to strengthen the healthcare delivery system at large, it may be said that the entire population of the country and the health sector as a whole will be benefited by this Bill.
The Bill provides for setting up of:
- Central Allied and Healthcare Councils: The Central Council will comprise 47 members, of which 14 members shall be ex-officio representing diverse and related roles and functions and remaining 33 shall be non-ex-officio members who mainly represent the 15 professional categories.
- State Allied and Healthcare Councils: The State Councils are also envisioned to mirror the Central Council, comprising 7 ex-officio and 21 non-ex officio members and the Chairperson to be elected from amongst the non-ex officio members.
- Professional Advisory Bodies: The advisory body will be constituted from 15 major professional categories including 53 professions in Allied and Healthcare streams. Professional Advisory Bodies under Central and State Councils will examine issues independently and provide recommendations relating to specific recognized categories.
The Bill defines the roles of the Central and State Councils that:
- The State Council will undertake recognition of allied and healthcare institutions.
- The Bill also empowers the State Governments to make rules framing policies and standards.
- Regulation of professional conduct and to check malpractices respectively.
- Creation and maintenance of live Registers, provisions for common entry and exit examinations, etc.
Expected expenditure and implementation of the bill
Total cost implication is expected to be Rupees 95 crores for the first four years. About four-fifths of the ` total budget (i.e. Rupees 75 crores) is being earmarked for the States while the remaining fund will support the Central Council operations for four years and also to establish the Central and State Registers. An interim council will be constituted within 6 months of passing of the Act holding charge for a period of two years until the establishment of the Central Council.
The Council at the Centre level and those at States level are to be established as a body corporate with a provision to receive funds from various sources. Councils will also be supported by Central and State Governments respectively through grant-in-aid as needed. However, if the State Government expresses inability, the Central Government may release some grant for initial years to the State Council.
Note - The Bill empowers the Central Governments to make rules and direct Council to make regulations and to add or amend the schedule. The Bill will also have an overriding effect on any other existing law for any of the covered professions.
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