New Delhi: The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill will be sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee, while Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has said that the panel should file its report before the Budget Session.
The bill that seeks to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Friday by Health Minister JP Nadda. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar has confirmed the bill will now go to the standing committee.
Important Pointers From The NMC Bill:
- The bill seeks to allow practitioners of Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Yoga and other alternative medicines to enter the field of modern medicine after completing a ‘bridge course’.
- The bridge course will be decided at a meeting between the proposed National Medical Commission, which will replace the Medical Council of India, the Central Council of Homoeopathy and the Central Council of Indian Medicine.
- Section 15 of the bill provides for a mandatory examination for MBBS graduates. Without passing the examination they would not be enrolled in the National Register and would not be able to practice or pursue higher education.
However, AYUSH graduates would be registered after a crash programme, without taking this examination. The system would restrict MBBS students from practising while allowing AYUSH doctors to practice after the ‘bridge course’. Even foreign doctors are exempted from the examination.
- Clause 49 of the bill calls for a joint sitting of the National Medical Commission, the Central Council of Homoeopathy and the Central Council of Indian Medicine at least once a year, “to enhance the interface between homoeopathy, Indian systems of medicine and modern systems of medicine”.
- The Bill proposes constitution of four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, assessment, rating of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under the National Medical Commission.
- The government, under the National Medical Commission (NMC), can dictate guidelines for fees up to 40% of the seats in private medical colleges. This is aimed at relieving students from exorbitant fees charged by the colleges and is a standout feature of the bill.
- Earlier, medical colleges required the MCI’s approval for establishment, recognition, renewal of the yearly permission or recognition of degrees, and even increasing the number of seats. Under the new bill, the powers of the regulator are reduced to establishment and recognition. This means less red tape, but also less scrutiny of medical colleges.
- Earlier, the MCI had 100 members where 12 were elected by the government and rest were elected from the doctors’ community. But now, NMC will have only 25 members and five of them will be elected by the doctor community and the remaining by the government.
- Earlier, MBBS doctors could perform minor incision and surgeries by themselves, while for a full-time surgery they had to pass the MS degree. But now, even AYUSH graduates who take the bridge course can apply for the MS course and practice surgery.
- Section 33(1)(d) of the NMC bill stipulates that “the commission may permit a medical professional to perform surgery or practice medicine without qualifying the National Licenciate Examination, in such circumstances and for such period as may be specified by regulations”. Such sweeping powers are not only illegal but also leaves ample scope for manipulation and corruption.