Cabinet Clears Bill To Replace The 63-Year-Old Medical Council Of India
On July 17, the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill which aims at replacing the 63-year-old Medical Council Of India (MCI) was passed by the Union Cabinet. The bill seeks to reform the medical sector in India.
The NMC will be a 29-member body which would comprise of 20 members selected through nomination, and nine through an election.
Following the corruption allegations against the MCI and flawed admission processes, the need for a new organisation to regulate and monitor medical colleges and various aspects of medical education was needed.
In March 2016, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health presented a report on MCI, claiming it to be corrupt. In August 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi formed a special panel to report on a Bill that would replace it. In 2017, the Bill was cleared, and subsequently introduced in the Lok Sabha.
After the NMC got a go-ahead signal, the move is expected to bring in a lot of changes in the medical sector.
The MCI has been the functionary body which implements the rules of medical education. It has overseen all the issues related to medical colleges and universities, whether it is regarding entrance exams or any specific course.
With the set up of NMC, these responsibilities will now be transferred to the new committee. As per the new regulations, the NMC will be accountable for conducting entrance exams, such as the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). It will also implement the National Exit Test (NEXT) for medical aspirants once they complete their education.
NEXT will not just operate as an entrance exam for postgraduate medical courses, but also as a screening test for students who pursue their education abroad.
In an attempt to bring reforms in the system, the NMC will oversee fees structures of 50 percent of private college seats. It will also be accountable for introducing new courses and course fees and even for increasing the number of seats in any college.
There will be four autonomous boards under the NMC: One to oversee Undergraduate Medical Education, another to manage the Postgraduate Medical Education, the Medical Assessment and Rating Board, and finally the Ethics and Medical Registration Board.