Indian Medical Association Current Affairs - 2019

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Cabinet approves setting up of National Medical Commission replacing MCI

Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved National Medical Commission Bill, 2019 which provides for setting up of a National Medical Commission in place of Medical Council of India (MCI) so as to usher comprehensive reforms in the medical education sector. The Bill also seeks to repeal Indian Medical Council Act 1956.

Key Features of Bill

Common final year MBBS Exams (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) will be known as National Exit Test (NEXT) which would serve as Licentiate Exam, for entrance to Post Graduate (PG) medical course and as screening test of foreign medical graduates.

It provides that National Entrance Test i.e. NEET, Common Counselling, NEXT will also be applicable to Institutes of National Importance (INIs) such as AIIMS to have common standards in country.

National Medical Commission: NMC, an autonomous commission will regulate fee and all other charges for 50% seats in private medical colleges and deemed universities.

NMC will ensure a transparent admission process and also reduce admission fee, and regulate fee in private colleges as well.

NMC will have 4 Autonomous Boards,

  1. Under-Graduate Medical Education Board
  2. Post-Graduate Medical Education Board
  3. Medical Assessment and Rating Board
  4. Ethics and Medical Registration Board

NMC and respective boards will work towards ensuring a dynamic and modern educational environment, decreasing emphasis on physical infrastructure, achieving norms in global standards and an effective grievance redressal mechanism.

Significance: These new measures will ensure a transparent admission process and will also bring down admission fee.

Criticism: NMC Bill is being pushed by Centre amid resistance from Indian Medical Association (IMA) and other sections. The Bill has been facing flak over various issues and IMA, the apex medical body has claimed that replacing MCI with another body may attract new forms of corruption.

Dentists to be allowed to practice as General Physicians

Government’s Think tank Niti Ayog has agreed to the proposal of the Dental Council of India which had sought to allow dentists to practice as general physicians after a bridge course.

The proposal was in the backdrop of the call by the Prime Minister’s office to explore unconventional methods to address the shortage of doctors in the country, particularly in rural areas.

Proposal of Dental Council of India

The Dental Council of India had sent a similar proposal to the Medical Council of India last year. The proposal sought:

  • A bridge course of 3 years post Bachelor of Dental Science (BDS).
  • The admission would be either through a common entrance exam or through cumulative marks secured in the BDS course, or even a combination.
  • The syllabus curriculum, scheme of examination, method of evaluation, degrees and registration all these criteria will be the same as recommended for MBBS.

IMA opposes the Proposal

Indian Medical Association has vehemently opposed the proposal. Stating the figures the IMA has said that 63,250 MBBS graduates come out of 494 medical colleges every year and India has only 23,729 post-graduate seats. Unemployment among medical graduates is a cause for concern. The IMA has called the policy has flawed.