Lok Sabha passes National Medical Commission Bill 2019

NEW DELHI: Lok Sabha has passed the National Medical Commission Bill 2019 on Monday. The Bill seeks to repeal the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956. It is aimed at providing a medical education that improves access to quality and affordable medical education. 

The bill will also ensure the availability of adequate and high-quality medical professionals in all parts of the country besides promoting equitable and universal healthcare that encourages community health perspective.

The Bill is intended to promote adoption of the latest medical research by medical professionals, periodic assessment of medical institutions and an effective grievance redressal mechanism.

It has provision to sets up the National Medical Commission (NMC) which will frame policies for regulating medical institutions and medical professionals and assess the requirements of healthcare-related human resources and infrastructure.

The Commission will also make guidelines for determination of fees for up to 50 per cent of the seats in private medical institutions and deemed universities.

The NMC will consist of 25 members, appointed by the central government out of which 21 members will be from the field of medical education with the utmost integrity.

The legislation also seeks to set up a Medical Advisory Council by the Centre that will advise the NMC on maintaining minimum standards of medical education.

Replying to a debate on the bill, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the basic intention of the government is to ensure and restore the utmost standard of integrity in the medical education and medical system in the country and no one should have any apprehension with regard to the bill. 

He said, the bill help enhance the MBBS and PG seats in the country. He said, in the last five years the government has increased 28000 MBBS and 17000 PG seats in the country. He said, there is a provision of strict action against quacks with one-year imprisonment and five lakh rupees fine.

Dr Harsh Vardhan said, the bill will regulate the fees up to 50 per cent seats of private medical colleges and rest has been left to the States to decide on it. He said, the Bill proposes a common final year undergraduate examination called the National Exit Test for the students graduating from medical institutions to obtain the license for the practice.

Dr Vardhan said, this test will also serve as the basis for admission into post-graduate courses at medical institutions under this Bill. Alleging that their demands were not accepted by the government, the members including from Congress, DMK and TMC staged a walkout.

Earlier, participating in the discussion, Congress member Vincent Pala, who opposed the bill saying that the new bill lacks vision and lacks structural integrity. Supporting the bill, Mahesh Sharma of BJP said that the legislation would enhance the number of seats and teachers in medical colleges and have control over the fee structure. Members from other political parties including from DMK, JD(U), Shiv Sena, CPI(M) JKNC and RSP participated in the discussion.