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Medical education reform: Lok Sabha passes NMC Bill

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Lok Sabha has passed the National Medical Commission Bill, paving path for replacement of more than 60 years old Medical Council of India with National Medical Commission (NMC).

The Bill passed by a voice vote aims to bring reform in medical education and replacement of corruption-plagued MCI is one of such endeavours.

The Bill has many provisions to overhaul medical education system including National Exit Test (NEXT) which will be considered as gateway to PG courses and screening test for students who graduate in medicine from foreign countries.

As per the provision, undergraduate students don’t need to go for separate exam and final year MBBS exam the National Exit Test (NEXT) will be treated as an entrance test for PG courses.

NEXT would ensure that the proposed National Medical Commission (NMC) moves away from a system of repeated inspections of infrastructure and to focus on outcomes rather than processes, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said.
Opposition members objected to provisions like exit exam and replacing elected members with nominated members in the proposed commission. They alleged that the legislation was against the spirit of federalism.

Vardhan said by bringing the bill the basic intention of the government is ensure and restore utmost standard of integrity of medical education.

He noted that NMC bill 2019 is an improved version of the one brought in 2017.
“Once the NMC Bill is passed by both houses of Parliament, exit examination will be implemented in the next three years,” the Minister said.

The bill seeks to repeal the Indian Medical Council Act 1956 in the wake of allegations of corruption against the 63- year-old Medical Council of India (MCI) and shortcomings in the process by which it regulated medical colleges.

The Minister of Health and Family Welfare sought to assure the members that genuine concerns of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), which has been protesting against the Bill, have been addressed.

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