The Rajya Sabha on Thursday, 1st August passed the National Medical Council Bill, 2019, a reform targetted towards the present medical education framework of India. The Bill, which was already enacted by the Lok Sabha on July 29th, will repeal the Indian Medical Council Act, 1976 and replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) with the newly proposed National Medical Commission (NMC).
A heavily disputed provision of the current bill is Section 32, which creates a new designation of Community Health Provider. As per the provision, anyone who is connected to the modern scientific medical profession can be granted a license to practice as a Community Health Provider and can prescribe medicines only in primary and preventive healthcare. However, this provision has been criticized by the opposition due to the ambiguity in its definition and the adverse impact the distribution of the license would have on the present institutional structure.
The enacted bill, as per Section 4, displays a weaker autonomy structure of the National Medical Commission. Out of the 25 members, 20 are to be appointed by the Government and only 5 will be elected, thereby clearly allowing the Government to exercise influence over the Commission.
In terms of the medical education framework, the Bill has proposed reform by the way of introducing the National Exit Test, which will convert the final year MBBS exam into an entrance test for Post-Graduation admission. NEXT would, therefore, remove the need of students to undergo two separate exams, which were for obtaining a license and applying for PG admission. The medical fraternity, however, has criticized this step as well, stating that merit should be the sole criterion and the NEET-PG exam must continue.
Lastly, the enacted bill provides the power to NMC to regulate the fees of 50% of the students in private medical colleges, something which was not under the power of the MCI. In response to the adoption of the bill by the Rajya Sabha, the Indian Medical Association has called for a nationwide stir.
Tags : Law, Reform, Parliament, Rajya Sabha, Doctors,Medical Education