- In a move to bring sweeping changes to the medical education sector, the Centre plans to introduce the National Medical Commission Bill in this session of Parliament.
- This is a revised version of the original bill introduced in 2017.
- In 2016, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health had presented a report on Medical Council of India (MCI), calling it corrupt.
- National Medical Commission Bill, 2017 was introduced in Lok Sabha, which aimed at replacing the Medical Council of India Act, 1956.
- The bill included the contentious provision of a “bridge course” to allow practitioners of alternative medicines to pursue allopathy.
- However, in 2018 the Indian Medical Association (IMA) protested against this provision.
- The Bill was referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee and amended to remove that contentious initiative.
- However, the bill lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.
- Now, the revised bill with recommended amendments has been cleared by the Cabinet.
National Medical Commission Bill:
- The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, proposed to be introduced in the current session of Parliament, proposes to replace the Medical Council of India with the National Medical Commission to oversee medical education in the country.
- The Bill repealed the Indian Medical Council Act 1956, stating that the Council set up under it was corrupt.
- At present, different medical colleges have different MBBS exam patters which means we are never sure of the quality of the medical graduate passing out of MBBS. The new Bill will have the provision for making national standards in medical education uniform.
- The final year MBBS exam be treated as an entrance test for PG and a screening test for students who graduated in medicine from foreign countries. This exam will be called the National Exit Test (NEXT).
- Apart from NEXT, the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) and common counselling for admissions will be used by all institutions.
- This includes All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry and the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.
- The Bill also put a cap fees on 50 percent of the seats in MBBS and PG colleges.
- The NMC will be 29-member body which would comprise of 20 members selected through nomination, and nine through election.
- It will have the following boards:
- Undergraduate Medical Education Board
- Postgraduate Medical Education Board
- Medical Assessment and Rating Board
- Ethics and Medical Registration Board.
- The UG and PG boards will set standards of medical education, while the Rating Board will facilitate the process of granting permissions to new medical colleges, and rank them.
- Framing policies for regulating medical institutions and medical professionals
- Assessing the requirements of healthcare related human resources and infrastructure,
- Regulating fees and all other charges for 50% of the seats in private medical colleges and deemed universities.
Significance of the Bill:
- It will ensure a uniform national pattern for final year MBBS exam so that all medical graduates who get the licence to practise conform to uniform national standards and quality.
- The autonomous commission will ensure a transparent admission process and also reduce admission fee.
- The NMC and the respective Boards will ensure a dynamic and modern educational environment, decreasing the emphasis on physical infrastructure, achieving the norms in global standards and an effective grievance redressal mechanism.