NATIONAL

Medical panel Bill crosses Rajya Sabha

Worried lot:Resident doctors and students of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences protesting against the NMC Bill in New Delhi on Thursday.R.V. Moorthy

Worried lot:Resident doctors and students of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences protesting against the NMC Bill in New Delhi on Thursday.R.V. Moorthy  

The Rajya Sabha on Thursday cleared the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill with a crucial amendment brought in by the government to increase representation of the States in the new body, as demanded by the Opposition.

The Bill was passed by a voice vote. The Lok Sabha cleared the proposed law on July 29. The NMC will replace the Medical Council of India (MCI).

In his reply to the debate, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the State Medical Council representation was being increased from five members to nine and State University representation from six to 10.

Seeking to alleviate concerns on NEET, Mr. Vardhan said it was already an institutionalised mechanism for the successful conduct of tests in 13 languages. Its syllabus was decided by considering the curricula of the State Boards and it was being improved continuously, he said.

The new body, after the law is implemented, will be constituted in nine months and in the next three years, it will set up the mechanism for conducting the common final year examination, or the National Exit Test (NEXT), for all MBBS students. Based on the results, the students will get their degrees and licence to practise (after an internship). Performance in the theory paper will decide eligibility for admission to postgraduate courses.

On the issue of NMC deciding fee/other charges of 50% seats in private institutions, the Minister clarified that the body would make rules to cap the fees for other seats. The State would enter into memoranda of understanding with private colleges to regulate fee structure for the other 50% seats, he said.

Clarifying the doubts on proposed issuance of limited licences to Community Health providers to practise medicine, Mr. Vardhan said the concept had already been implemented in many countries, including developed nations. Stringent measures had been introduced to punish quacks.

Mr. Vardhan recognised the reforms introduced by Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, during his tenure as the Health Minister.

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