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The NMC Bill And All About It  
Date:  5 Aug 2019
Posted by Yukti Jindal

In a recent session at Rajya Sabha, a new bill called the NMC Bill has been passed by the members, the primary aim of which is to regulate the medical education system in India. According to the bill, the Medical Council of India or MCI will be replaced by National Medical Commission or NMC and the Medical Council Act of 1956 will be annulled. With the passing of this new bill, NMC will be responsible for the regulation of all the medical practices like approving and assessing medical colleges, conducting entrance(NEET) and exit(NEXT) examinations and regulating free structures and systems.

The provisions of the bill will be applicable after 3 years of passing date and State Medical Councils will be set up by that time.This bill was earlier presented in Lok Sabha by Minister Of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harshvardhan Singh on July 22, 2019. According to him, the primary aim of the bill is:-

  • Availability of adequate and high-quality medical experts
  • Taking up of latest medical techniques and equipment by medical professionals
  • Assessment of medical institutions from time to time
  • An effective mechanism for grievance redressal

  • The above bill was proposed after the President of MCI, Mr. Ketan Desai was alleged of fraud and corruption. The MCI was dissolved at that time.
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    Old Bill vs New Bill


    Old Bill
    New Bill
    The powers of regulation of medical education rested in the hands of MCI. The powers will now be given to NMC.
    It is an elected body, wherein the members were elected by medical practitioners themselves, i.e. the regulator is elected by the regulated. The body would be formed of a chairperson(medical practioner), Presidents of the Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate Medical Education Boards, the Director General of Health Services, Directorate General of Health Services, the Director-General, Indian Council of Medical Research, and 5 members (part-time) to be elected by the registered medical practitioners from amongst themselves from states and union territories for a period of two years.
    MCI didn’t have any power to regulate fees in private medical colleges. NMC would have control over the fees of 50% of seats in private medical colleges.
    The students had to give an entrance examination(NEET) at the beginning of the MBBS degree. The students would have to give NEET along with an exit examination at the end of the final year in the MBBS course.
    If the MCI suspends a doctor, the state councils will not be bound to adhere to it and can refuse to accept the decision. The ethics board will “exercise appellate jurisdiction with respect to actions taken by state medical councils”.
    MBBS pass-outs from countries like US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia are permitted to practice in India automatically. Under the NMC Bill, students like these would have to give an exit test.
    nmc-bill-status


    Other Key Features

  • A Medical Advisory Council will be set up by the Central Government, the sole purpose of which will be to provide the States and Union Territories a platform to put forth their views and concerns in front of the NMC.
  • Autonomous boards will be set up by the NMC, the members in each of which would be a President and four members appointed by the Central Government.
  • Under-Graduate Medical Education Board(UGMEB)
    Post-Graduate Medical Education Board(PGMEB)
    The Medical Assessment and Rating Board(MARB)
    The Ethics And Medical Registration Board
  • The State Medical councils will now be bound to follow the instructions of the NMC.
  • The practice of yearly inspections would now be done with.

  • nmc-bill-2019


    The Take of Medical Practitioners

    The Indian Medical Association and other medical practitioners are under agitation and protest because of the bill. Since the Indian Medical Association is left with no powers and the medical practitioners are not the major controlling body anymore, they are strongly in opposition to the bill. The medical fraternity also claims that this bill will encourage quackery. They are also against the section 45 of the bill, which according to their understanding, means that the Centre has the right to override any suggestion by the NMC. The medical practitioners, along with some members from Rajya Sabha are also against a provision in the bill, according to which the students pursuing AYUSH( Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy) may be allowed to take up a bridge course, after which they will be eligible to prescribe some level of modern medicine.

    While the bill was followed by great criticism and agitated protests from medical students, professionals, and members of MCI and was even opposed by some members in the Rajya Sabha assembly, it has now been successfully passed at the Upper House with only two amendments suggested, for which it will be sent again at Lok Sabha for revision, before being sent before President for his assent.