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Medical law will bring down fees, says Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Minister also sought to dispel an impression about the NMC being dominated by central government nominees. “This is not true.

President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday approved the National Medical Commission Bill, 2019, paving the way for the establishment of the country’s new regulator of medical education and certification.

“We are happy with the development and are aiming at framing rules and constituting the National Medical Commission in the next six months,” Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said, confirming the receipt of Presidential assent for the Bill that had recently won Parliament’s approval.

The Minister described the NMC Act as a ‘progressive’ legislation that would help reduce the burden on students, ensure probity in medical education, bring down costs of medical education, simplify procedures, help to enhance the number of medical seats in India, ensure quality education, and provide wider access to people for quality healthcare.

 “It is a game-changing reform of transformational nature. I am sure that under the NMC, medical education in the country will attain its zenith in the years to come,” Dr. Vardhan asserted.

Exit test

Elaborating on the exit exam, NEXT, Dr. Vardhan said: “Even in the current system, every student has to appear for a final year examination. Under the NMC Act, this final year examination has been converted into a nationwide exit test called NEXT. This single examination will grant a licence to practise medicine, an MBBS degree, and [serve as an] entrance to postgraduate courses.’’

He added that a ‘singular’ feature of the NMC Act is that it provides for the regulation of fees and all other charges in 50% seats in private colleges as well as deemed Universities.

“Nearly 50% of the total MBBS seats in the country are in government colleges, which have nominal fees. Of the remaining seats, 50% would be regulated by NMC. This means that almost 75% of total seats in the country would be available at reasonable fees. It must be stressed again at this point that not only fees, but fees and all other charges are being regulated,’’ he said.

The Minister also elaborated on the provisions relating to Community Health Providers and sought to allay apprehensions voiced by some medical professionals about the NMC Act leading to a dilution in the standards of healthcare services. “Doctors are a scarce resource in our country and need to be optimally utilised,” Dr. Vardhan said. “They are indispensable for secondary and tertiary care; the only area where other health professionals can supplement them is preventive and primary healthcare. We are providing for mid-level health providers,” he added.

The Minister also sought to dispel an impression about the NMC being dominated by central government nominees. “This is not true. There will be 10 Vice Chancellors of State Health Universities and 9 elected members of State Medical Councils in the NMC. Thus 19 out of 33 members, which is more than half of the total strength, would be from the States and only a minority of members will be appointed by the central government, thereby ensuring that the NMC is representative, inclusive and respecting the federal structure of Indian polity.”

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 4:26:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/medical-law-will-bring-down-fees-says-harsh-vardhan/article28903829.ece

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