The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has strongly opposed the draft bill that seeks to replace the Medical Council of India with a new body, claiming it will cripple the medical profession.
The draft National Medical Commission Bill was on Friday approved by the Cabinet. It provides for the constitution of four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting undergraduate and postgraduate education, assessment and accreditation of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under the National Medical Commission (NMC).
IMA president Dr K K Agarwal appealed to the Prime Minister to revise the draft bill in the larger interest of the medical profession. According to the IMA, the NMC will “cripple” the functioning of the medical profession by making it completely answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators. “Regulators need to have an autonomy and be independent of the administrators. The National Medical Commission will be a regulator appointed by the administrators under their direct control,” Agarwal said.
It abolishes the Medical Council of India and “possibly” Section 15 of the IMC Act, which says that the basic qualification to practise modern medicine is MBBS, he claimed. “It takes away the voting right of every doctor in India to elect their medical council. The Medical Council of India is a representative body of the medical profession in India. Any registered medical practitioner in the country can contest the election and every qualified doctor can vote. Abolishing a democratic institution and replacing it by a body in which majority are nominated by the government is certainly a retrograde step,” Agarwal said.
He further said that the draft bill, in its current form, allows the private medical colleges to charge at will, nullifying whatever solace the NEET brought. The government can fix the fee for only 40 per cent of the seats in private medical colleges, he said. Also, it inducts non-medical people into the highest body of medical governance changing its perspective and character forever and introduces schedule IV to allow the AYUSH graduates to get registration in modern medicine.
“The IMA appeals to the PM to recall the bill and rectify these anomalies. Parliament has a larger role to protect the interest of the medical profession of the country,” Agarwal said. According to the draft bill, the commission will have government-nominated chairman and members, and the board members will be selected by a search committee under the Cabinet Secretary. There will five elected and 12 ex-officio members in the commission.
The draft bill also proposes a common entrance exam and licentiate exam that all medical graduates will have to clear to get practising licences, the official said. As per the provisions of the draft bill, no permission would be needed to add new seats or to start post-graduate courses.
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