The government will soon come up with a National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill for “comprehensive reforms in the medical education sector”, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told the Lok Sabha Tuesday.
“We will soon take the NMC bill to the Cabinet and then in Parliament,” Vardhan said. He said that Bill, which was introduced in December 2017, lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.
The minister was replying to the debate on the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which was later passed by the House by voice vote. This Bill provides for the supersession of the Medical Council of India (MCI) for a period of two years with effect from September 26, 2018. It will replace an ordinance promulgated on February 21.
Vardhan said that the board of governors which had replaced the MCI has worked well and taken a series of steps to improve medical education in the country. He said the board has granted accreditation to more medical colleges, has increased the number of seats, has reduced procedural hurdles, and is manned by doctors of great repute.
“This is just the beginning of our work, and you will see radical reforms in the medical education of the country,” he said.
Introducing the Bill, Vardhan said in the last two decades, a perception was built that MCI has been unsuccessful in discharging its duties and that corrupt practices are prevalent in the regulatory body. “Although the National Medical Commission Bill could be introduced in the near future but to have legal continuity, every ordinance has to be converted into a law,” he stressed.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury opposed the ordinance route taken by the government to supersede the MCI, saying it was “unhealthy” for democracy. He said the ordinance was promulgated twice by the government despite elections being around the corner. “MCI had become a scam-tainted authority,” he said.
BJP’s Sanjay Jaiswal said the government should look for good and whole-time professors for medical colleges.
Opposing the Bill, Gautham Sigamani Pon of the DMK said the intention of the government was to undermine the powers of the state.
TMC’s Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar suggested the government do away with the entrance test for studying medicine. “We should depend upon Class 12 qualifying examination marks to get entrance into medical (colleges)…,” she said.