Union Cabinet has approved certain amendments to National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill considering recommendations of Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee (DRPSC) and general feedback from public.
The NMC Bill seeks to replace the Medical Council of India with National Medical Commission as top regulator of medical education in India. It aims to move towards outcome-based regulation of medical education rather than process oriented. It will ensure proper separation of functions within regulator by having autonomous boards, create accountable and transparent procedures for maintaining standards in Medical Education.
Amendments approved are
Final MBBS Examination and exit test: The final MBBS examination will be held as common exam throughout country. It will serve as exit test to be called National Exit Test (NEXT). It will ease burden on medical students as they will not have to appear in separate exam after MBBS to get license to practice. NEXT will also serve as screening test for doctors with foreign medical qualifications in order to practice in India.
Provision of Bridge course: It removes provision dealing with bridge course for AYUSH practitioners to practice modern medicine to limited extent. Now state governments have been empowered to take necessary measures for addressing and promoting primary health care in rural areas.
Fee regulation: The maximum limit of 40% seats for which fee will be regulated in private medical institutions and deemed universities has been increased to 50% seats. The fee will also include all other charges taken by colleges.
Number of nominees from States/UTs in NMC: The nominees of States and UTs in National Medical Commission (NMC) have been increased from 3 to 6. TNMC will comprise of 25 members of which at least 21 will be doctors.
Monetary penalty for medical colleges: It adds provision providing different options for warning, reasonable monetary penalty, reducing intake, stoppage of admission leading up to withdrawal of recognition on medical college non-compliant with norms. Earlier, wide range of monetary penalty, ranging from one half to ten times annual fee recovered from batch was to be imposed in a graded manner.
Stringent punishment for quacks: It provides severe punishment for any unauthorized practice of medicine or by quacks with imprisonment of up to 1 year along with fine extending up to Rs. 5 lakhs.