The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently replaced Indian Medical Council with a new independent body called the National Medical Commission citing inefficiencies in the Medical Practice and Medical Education.
National Medical Commission, 2019
As Indian Medical Council was a statutory body, the Government of India had to pass legislation by the name of The National Medical Commission Act, 2019.
The Act repealed the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and was passed with an aim to provide medical education system which ensures
Availability of adequate and high-quality medical professionals.
Adoption of the latest medical research by medical professionals.
Periodic assessment of medical institutions.
An effective grievance redressal mechanism.
Features of the Act
Constitution of National Medical Commission
The Bill sought to replace the Indian Medical Council with a new independent body called National Medical Commission (NMC) at National Level.
The Bill says that every state will establish State Medical Councils at state levels before the completion of three years of passage of the Bill.
The NMC will have 25 members which will be appointed by Central Government.
There will be a constitution of a Search Committee who will search and identify ideal members for the post of Commission’s Chairperson and its part-time members.
The Search Committee will be of 7 members including the Cabinet Secretary and six members to be appointed by the central government out of which 3 members will be experts from the medical field.
Constituents of Medical Commission
A Chairperson who must be a Medical Practitioner with experience in Medical Field.
Presidents of Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate Medical Education Boards.
The Director-General of Health Services.
Director-General, Indian Council of Medical Research.
Five members (part-time) to be elected by registered medical practitioners from amongst themselves from States and UTs for a period of 2 years.
Functions of National Medical Commission
Framing policies for regulating medical institutions and medical professionals.
Assessment of the requirements of healthcare-related human resources and infrastructure.
To ensure compliance by the State Medical Councils of the regulations made under the Bill.
To frame guidelines for determination of fees for up to 50% of the seats in private medical institutions and deemed universities that are regulated under the Bill.
Medical Advisory Council
The National Medical Commission Act provides for the formation of a Medical Advisory Council.
The MAC will act as a platform for the states and UTs to put forward their issues before NMC.
The Council will advise the NMC on measures to determine and maintain standards of medical education.
Setting up of Autonomous Boards
The NMC Act provides for the constitution of autonomous boards to supervise the National Medical Commission.
This board will consist of 5 members including a President.
The following boards will be set up through this Act
Under-Graduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB)
Post-Graduate Medical Education Board (PGMEB)
Medical Assessment and Rating Board (MARB)
The Ethics and Medical Registration Board (EMRB)
UGMEB and PGMEB will look after the formulation of standards, curriculum, guidelines, and granting recognition to medical qualifications at UG and PG levels respectively.
MARB will have the power to levy monetary penalties on medical institutions that fail to maintain the minimum standards as laid down by UGMEB and PGMEB.
EMRB will maintain a register of all licensed medical practitioners and will be responsible for maintaining professional conduct.
Uniform Entrance Exam
This Act provides for a uniform National eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to graduate and post-graduate super-specialty medical education in all medical institutions.
National Medical Commission will provide guidelines and the manner for conducting common counseling for admission in all such medical institutions.
National Exit Test
The NMC Act also provides for a common final year undergraduate examination for all the students graduating from medical institutions to obtain a license for the practice.
The results from this test will be among the criteria to be used to get admission into post-graduate courses at medical institutions.
Critical Points raised on the Act
National Eligibility cum Entrance Test
The Critics say that NEET is being conducted in India since 2016 and thus it’s neither a part of the Act nor should it have been included in the statutes of the Act.
Delphic Selection Procedure Followed
In October 2019, The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced the selection of 25 members of the NMC by lottery. However, it’s from the universities that house hundreds of medical professionals each. Additionally, no information was provided in the public domain about the qualification and achievements of these people.
Insular and Biased approach in Admission Procedure
The Students from Tamil Nadu can come to Delhi for a Super-Speciality Course for 3 years and then head back to their towns whereas if a Delhi Students wants to do the same, he/she must meet the guidelines of the Tamil Nadu Government which is a mandatory history of stay in the state for 10 years.