The Union Cabinet Wednesday approved the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill which seeks to replace the Medical Council of India Act, 1956, and usher in mega reforms in the medical education sector.
The Bill will be introduced in the current session of parliament. It was first introduced in Parliament in December 2017, but lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.
The NMC Bill proposes a common final year MBBS exam, to be known as National Exit Test (NEXT), for admission to post-graduate medical courses and for obtaining license to practice. It would also act as a screening test for foreign medical graduates, official sources said.
Besides, the national entrance test — NEET — common counselling and NEXT will also be applicable to institutes of national importance like AIIMS in order to have a common standard in medical education sector in the country.
“According to the amendments made in the fresh NMC Bill, entry to the PG programmes will be on the basis of the results of the National Exit Test (NEXT), which would be held as a common exam across the country. So the candidates would not have to appear in a separate exam after clearing the MBBS final exam for admission to PG courses,” a source explained.
The Bill provides for setting up of a National Medical Commission (NMC) in place of the Medical Council of India for development and regulation of all aspects of medical education, profession and institutions.
It also provides for setting up of a Medical Advisory Council to advise and make recommendations to the panel.
“The common final year MBBS exam, to be known as the National Exit Test, would serve as licentiate exam, as screening test for foreign medical graduates and for admission to PG medical courses.
“The National Medical Commission will regulate fees and all other charges for 50 per cent seats in private medical colleges and deemed universities,” the source said.
According to the bill, the Medical Assessment and Rating Board (MARB) will assess medical colleges and develop a ranking system for them which would enable students choose their institutes in a much more informed manner.
These measures will ensure a transparent admission process and also bring down admission fee, sources said.
“The legislation will introduce necessary regulatory reforms in the field of medical education. NMC will promote availability of affordable healthcare services providers in all parts of the country,” a source said.
According to the proposed legislation, NMC will have four autonomous boards — Under Graduate Medical Education Board, Post-Graduate Medical Education Board, Medical Assessment and Rating Board and Ethical and Medical Registration Board.
The NMC and the autonomous boards will ensure a dynamic and modern educational environment, reduce emphasis on physical infrastructure, achieve global standards and bring in an effective grievance redressal mechanism.
In the Bill, greater representation to elected members through State Medical Councils have been provided in the Medical Advisory Council and the commission.
The strength of the autonomous boards have been increased from three to five and it includes two part-time members, of whom one doctor would be selected by the government and the other elected from the State Medical Council.
The Medical Assessment and Rating Board will grant permission to medical colleges for starting PG course and for increasing the number of seats based on the standards set by the undergraduate and postgraduate boards.
The annual renewal of permission for new medical colleges before recognition is being done away with in the Bill.