National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill Opposed By IMA; 10 Points

The Cabinet on Friday approved the draft National Medical Commission Bill, 2017, which seeks to replace the existing medical education regulator Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new body to ensure transparency.

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National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill Opposed By IMA; 10 Points

The Cabinet on Friday approved the draft National Medical Commission Bill, 2017

New Delhi:  The Cabinet on Friday approved the draft National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2017, which seeks to replace the existing medical education regulator Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new body to ensure transparency. According to Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the process is being done to correct the whole medical ecosystem. Currently, the MCI is the statutory body for establishing uniform and high standards of medical education in India, but, with introduction of this draft bill, MCI will be replaced with a new Commission.

Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), the largest body of doctors in India, yesterday demanded the rollback of NMC, claiming it will cripple the medical profession.
 

National Medical Commission Bill Move Opposed By IMA; 10 Points

 
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1. The bill provides for the constitution of four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting undergraduate and postgraduate education, assessment and accreditation of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under the NMC, reported PTI.

2. The draft bill proposes a common entrance exam and licentiate exam which all medical graduates will have to clear to get practicing licences, an official said.
 
3. As per the provisions of the draft bill, no permission would be needed to add new seats or to start post-graduate courses, reported PTI.
 
4. According to the draft bill, the commission will have government-nominated chairman and members, and the board members will be selected by a search committee under the Cabinet Secretary. There will five elected and 12 ex-officio members in the commission.
 
5. According to the IMA, the NMC will "cripple" the functioning of the medical profession by making it completely answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators. IMA president Dr K K Agarwal appealed to the prime minister to revise the draft bill in the larger interest of the medical profession.
 
6. Contrary to Mr. Agarwal's claims, according to an official, the new body will have eminent doctors and experts from related fields to suggest the direction that should be given to medical education in the country so as to ensure that the quality of education is at par with global standards. But it was reported earlier that, "the regulators in the new body will be selected and will not be elected".
 
7. The bill abolishes the MCI and "possibly" Section 15 of the IMC Act, which says that the basic qualification to practice modern medicine is MBBS, claimed Mr. Agarwal. He also said that the bill takes away the voting right of every doctor in India to elect their medical council. Any registered medical practitioner in the country can contest the election and every qualified doctor can vote.

8. Mr. Agarwal also said said that the draft bill, in its current form allows the private medical colleges to charge at will, nullifying whatever solace the NEET brought.

9. He added that that introducing a medical licentiate exam after qualifying in final MBBS exam is an injustice. "It is highly insensitive to the plight of medical students who even otherwise must undergo a long and tortuous academic career chequered with highly competitive exams," he said.

10. In July 2016, a high-level committee headed by then Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya proposed the scrapping of MCI and replacing it with the NMC. A three-member committee then proposed to set up an altogether new body with three pronged approach - career, enterprise and ethics.

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(With Inputs from PTI and IANS)

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