Amid strong protests by the medical fraternity, the Rajya Sabha passed the controversial National Medical Commission (NMC) bill 2019 which is proposed to bring one of the biggest reforms in medical education.
The National Medical Council (NMC) bill is passed to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) which is the central authority regulating the medical education.Amendments
- The Upper house (Rajya Sabha) introduced two new amendments. So the bill will now be passed to the Lok Sabha once again before getting the president’s assent.
- The bill is passed seeking increased representation from State Medical Council and vice-chancellors of medical universities on the NMC.
Components of NMC
- It will consist of 25 members.
- A search committee comprising of Cabinet Secretary, Union Health Secretary, CEO of NITI (National Institute of Transforming India) Aayog and four experts nominated by the central government will recommend the names of post for the post of Chairman and part-time members.
- Each members’ term will be maximum period of four years without reappointment.
Reason for replacement
MCI was dissolved in the year 2010 due to the corruption charges faced by its president Ketan Desai by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation).
- This bill once approved will annul the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 in the wake of allegations of corruption against 63year old MCI.
- The NMC which could be the replacement for MCI will have responsibilities like approving and assessing medical colleges, conducting common MBBS entrance exams and regulating course fee and will provide quality and affordable education, availability of adequate quality medical professionals.
- “National Exit Test” (NEXT) – common final year MBBS exam to be cleared by the students wishing to pursue post graduate medical courses as well as to obtain practice licence.
- The NEXT will also be treated as a screening test for the students graduating from foreign medical colleges to practice in India.
The NEXT exam is expected to be implemented within three years of NMC’s approval.
Community Health Provider
The bill may grant limited licence to practice medicine at mid level as a Community Healthprovider to persons connected with modern scientific medical profession under specified regulations.
- This grant of licence will allow anyone connected with modern medicine to get registered in NMC and be licensed to practice modern medicine.
- As a result 3.5 lakh unqualified non-medical persons may also get the licence to practice modern medicine under the label Community Health provider.
The NMC bill is opposed by many medical students,doctors and members of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) which is a voluntary organisation of doctors having over 3 lakh members, with wide protests across the country.
- The reason for the opposition is that this bill once approved will snatch the autonomy of the state Medical Council because they will have to be bound by the rules of the NMC.
- The states will have the power only to advise the NMC, but the NMC has the power either to accept or ignore the advice.The central government which is not a judicial body is the appellate authority where the practitioners should appeal for a decision like ethical misconduct etc. to the central govt.
- The doctors’ basic objection is related to the section 45 of the NMC bill which empowers the centre to override any suggestion on the NMC.
- As a result this bill will lead to the emergence of many new private medical colleges across the country as the provisions of the bill might lead to complete corporatization of the medical education.
Over the past few days, medical students across the country has started a big protest against the NMC bill with hunger strikes, boycotting of classes and marches to the governor’s offices.