Cabinet approves setting up of National Medical Commission

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New Delhi: The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2019 that aims setting up of a National Medical Commission. The Bill aims to overhaul the medical education in India, also seeks to repeal the Indian Medical Council Act 1956.

With the Bill, the common final year MBBS exam will be known as National Exit Test (NEXT) and will serve as a licentiate exam for entrance to postgraduate medical courses and as a screening test for foreign medical graduates.

The Bill provides that the national entrance test, the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), common counselling and NEXT will also be applicable to Institutes of National Importance (INIs) such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Briefing the media persons, union minister Prakash Javadekar said: “Currently, we are having NEET and entrance exams for AIIMS etc. Now we will also have an exit exam that will be for everyone for getting a license to practice medicine in the country.”

The Commission will also regulate fee and all other charges for 50% seats in private medical colleges and deemed universities. The Medical Assessment and Rating Board (MARB) will conduct an assessment to the medical college and develop a system of ranking of medical colleges which would enable the students to choose the medical college wisely. “These measures through an autonomous commission will ensure a transparent admission process and also bring down admission fee, as we have long been talking about fee regulation in private colleges,” said Javadekar.

The NMC will have four autonomous boards, namely Under-Graduate Medical Education Board, Post-Graduate Medical Education Board, Medical Assessment and Rating Board and Ethics and Medical Registration Board. The NMC and respective boards will ensure a dynamic and modern educational environment, decreasing the emphasis on physical infrastructure, achieving the norms in global standards and an effective grievance redressal mechanism, the government said in an official statement.

Greater representation to elected members through State Medical Councils has been provided in the Medical Advisory Council and the Commission. The strength of autonomous boards has been increased from three to five and includes 2 part-time members. One of them will be a doctor selected by the government and the other will be an elected doctor from the State Medical Council.

“The Medical Assessment and Rating Board will grant permission for new medical colleges, starting of PG course and increase of seats based on the standards set by the UG and PG Boards. The annual renewal permission for new medical colleges before recognition is being done away with,” the government said in the official statement.

The government has been pushing the NMC Bill amid resistance from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and other sections. The Bill has however been facing flak over various issues and the apex medical body—IMA—has claimed that replacing MCI with another body may attract new forms of corruption.

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