Cabinet approves National Medical Commission bill 2019

Cabinet approves National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill 2019

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the National Medical Commission 2019 Bill which provides for the constitution of National Medical Commission that will replace the Medical Council of India as the apex medical education regulator.

Background :-
The functioning of the Medical Council of India (MCI) has been under scrutiny for long, especially with regard to grant of permissions to medical colleges.

  • The Centre in July 2014 had constituted a Group of Experts (GoE) under the chairmanship of Dr Ranjit Rai Choudhary to study the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, and make recommendations to the government to make the MCI modern and suited to the prevailing conditions.
  • The Group of Experts submitted its report in September, 2014 wherein it recommended for establishment of a National Medical Commission in place of MCI, with four independent boards under it to oversee undergraduate education, postgraduate education, assessment and rating, ethics and medical registration and formation of a National Advisory Council.
  • The Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare in its 92nd report severely indicted MCI and recommended that the government should bring a new comprehensive bill in Parliament to replace the body.

The NMC Bill had been introduced in 2017 in Lok Sabha, when the provision of a standalone exit examination and the proposal for a bridge course that would allow Ayush doctors to practice allopathy had faced opposition.

The Bill was sent to the standing committee after which the exit examination was changed to the final MBBS examination and the bridge course provision was dropped altogether.

Features of the Bill :-
  • The Bill allows for just one medical entrance test across the country, a single exit exam (the final MBBS exam) that will work as a licentiate examination, a screening test for foreign medical graduates and entrance test for admission to postgraduate programmes. 
  • Under the Bill, the fees and charges of 50 per cent of the total seats in private medical colleges and deemed universities will regulated.
  • The Bill proposes that NEET and common counselling will be applicable to all medical educational institutions, including AIIMS. 
  • It also provides for setting up of a Medical Advisory Council to advise and make recommendations to the panel. 
  • The proposed National Medical Commission will replace the Medical Council of India, which has been mired in corruption charges for years. 
  • According to the bill, the Medical Assessment and Rating Board (MARB) will assess medical colleges and develop a ranking system which will enable students choose institutes in a much more informed manner. These measures will ensure a transparent admission process
  • According to the proposed legislation, NMC will have four autonomous boards --
    Undergraduate Medical Education Board
    Postgraduate Medical Education Board
    Medical Assessment and Rating Board 

    Ethical and Medical Registration Board.
  • The NMC and the autonomous boards will ensure dynamic and modern educational environment, reduce emphasis on physical infrastructure, achieve global standards and bring in an effective grievance redressal mechanism. 
  • In the Bill, the strength of the autonomous boards has been increased from three to five and it includes two part-time members, of whom one doctor would be selected by the government and the other elected from the State Medical Council. 
  • The Medical Assessment and Rating Board will grant permission to medical colleges for starting PG course and for increasing the number of seats based on the standards set by the undergraduate and postgraduate boards. The annual renewal of permission for new medical colleges before recognition is being done away with in the Bill.

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