President approved the NMC Bill

Highlights:

  • President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to the National Medical Commission Bill 2019. 
  • The Bill will replace the Medical Council of India (MCI), which was functional as per the Indian Medical Council (IMC) Act, 1956.
  • President gave assent to a key legislation aimed at ushering in mega reforms in the medical education sector and replacing the nearly 63-year-old Indian Medical Council Act.
  • The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, passed by both houses of Parliament, will be notified in the gazette soon.
  • The rules will be framed and the NMC will be constituted for development and regulation of all aspects of medical education, profession and institutions. 
  • All these will be done within six months.
  • The NMC will replace the scam-tainted Medical Council of India. 
  • The president dissolved the MCI in 2018 and a Board of Governors was appointed to perform its functions.
  • NMC Act will ensure probity, quality education and bring down costs of medical education. 
  • It simplifies procedures and provides wider access to people for quality healthcare.
  • The legislation provides for national entrance test - NEET - along with common counselling for MBBS, and a common final year MBBS exam, to be known as National Exit Test (NEXT).
  • It will be applicable to all institutes including those of national importance like AIIMS.
  • The NEXT results would be the base for admission to PG courses and to obtain license to practice. 
  • It would also act as a screening test for foreign medical graduates.
  • This provision will eliminate the need for students to approach multiple colleges and take part in multiple counselling processes for admission. 
  • This will save students and their families unnecessary physical and financial trauma,
  • The NMC will be an overarching body, which will frame policies and coordinate activities of four autonomous boards. 
  • These boards will look after the work of UG and PG education, Medical Assessment and Rating and Ethics and Medical Registration.
  • The NMC will have eminent medical personalities as members who will be appointed for only one term of four years and will not be eligible for any further extension.
  • The NMC will have eminent medical personalities as members who will be appointed for only one term of four years and will not be eligible for any further extension.
  • Thus 19 out of 33 members, which is more than half of the total strength, would be from states and only a minority of members will be appointed by the Central government thereby ensuring NMC is representative, inclusive and respecting the federal structure of Indian polity.
  • The NMC will have eminent medical personalities as members who will be appointed for only one term of four years and will not be eligible for any further extension.
  • It has been further provided that chairperson/member on ceasing to hold office will not accept for a period of two years any employment in any capacity in a private medical institute whose matter has been dealt with them either directly or indirectly, he said.
  • Refuting allegations that the clause on fees regulation will make the medical education expensive, Vardhan clarified there was no provision to regulate fees in the Indian Medical Council Act 1956.
  • In view of the lack of a regulatory mechanism, the Supreme Court had to pass orders for setting up of fees committees in each state to be chaired by retired high court judges.
  • The Act provides for regulation of fees and all other charges in 50 per cent seats in private colleges as well as deemed-to-be universities. Nearly 50 pc of the total MBBS seats in the country are in government colleges, which have nominal fees. Of the remaining seats, 50 pc would be regulated by NMC.