NMC Bill clears test in Rajya Sabha, doctors step up stir

The Asian Age.

India, All India

The bill was passed by a voice vote, amid a walkout by the AIADMK.

Doctors and medical students take part in a procession in protest against the National Medical Commission Bill, near AIIMS, in New Delhi, Thursday. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed the National Medical Council Bill. The Bill, which was cleared by the Lok Sabha on July 29, proposes to replace the corruption-plagued 63-year-old Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new body in what was described by the government as one of the biggest reforms in medical education in the country. The Bill also seeks to annul the Indian Medical Council Act 1956 in the wake of allegations of corruption against the MCI and address the shortcomings in the process of regulating medical colleges in the country. The bill was passed by a voice vote, amid a walkout by the AIADMK.

Health minister Harsh Vardhan, speaking on the Bill, said the NEET is already an institutionalised body that conducts examinations in 13 languages.“Once the NMC Bill is approved, exit examinations will be implemented in the next three years,” Mr Vardhan said.

Outside Parliament, the IMA has warned the government that protests against the bill will be intensified. Doctors’ bodies termed the bill “anti-poor” and “anti-student”.

Healthcare services at government hospitals, including All-India Institutes of Medical Sciences, Safdarjung and RML in Delhi, are likely to be severely hit with resident doctors deciding to withdraw all kind of services, including that of emergency department, on August 1.

The Bill also has a provision for making national standards in medical education uniform by proposing that the final year MBBS exam be treated as an entrance test for PG and a screening test for students who graduate in medicine from foreign countries. This exam, called the National Exit Test, would ensure that the proposed National Medical Commission moves away from a system of repeated inspections of infrastructure and focuses on outcomes rather than processes, the minister added.

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