NMC Bill row: NITI Aayog says doctors supported, IMA differs

On Wednesday, in an extensive interaction with economists and experts on ‘Economic Policy- the Road Ahead' in Delhi, the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill was discussed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While briefing about the meeting, Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog said, the NMC Bill was supported by all the experts including the doctors. But as per IMA this is factually wrong

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  • The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2017, which was approved by the Union Cabinet on December 18, is to set up a new and transparent system of regulating healthcare. 
  • However, Indian Medical Association (IMA) opposes the bill. It says that the newly introduced bill is flawed then the old one.
  • Informing about the government’s decision in the Lok Sabha, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said, “Those who opposed the bill demanded that the bill should be sent to the standing committee. The government is ready to send the bill to the standing committee. I would request the speaker to ask the standing committee to give their recommendations before the budget session.”
  • “This is the second time that the bill is being sent to the standing committee. So, the standing committee should give the recommendations before the budget session,” said the Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
  • But On Wednesday, Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog said, the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill was supported by all the experts including the doctors.

There has been a tussle between government and the doctors regarding the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill. The NMC bill isn’t a good one according to the doctors and the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has strongly been opposing it. As per them, the Bill is anti-poor, anti-people, non-representative, undemocratic and anti-federal in character.

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Whereas, on Wednesday, Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog said, “There was a unanimous support for the NMC Bill. Some people called it historical and they congratulated the Prime Minister. They said they know the difficulties for getting it approved. The healthcare experts and the doctors supported it.”

Indian Medical Association (IMA) – the largest organisation of modern medicine practising doctors have however said that, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar’s statement that doctors supported the NMC Bill is factually incorrect.

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Ravi Wankhdekar, the National President of IMA said, “Since the NMC Bill will remain here for 50-60 years, it is important that views of all the stakeholders are taken into consideration so that it is beneficial to both the community and medical students.”

He added, “The Standing Committee has given us a date and time to represent our case. We are hoping that the discussion will also include all the stakeholders including medical students and medical teachers as it will affect them the most.”

  • Piyush Vyas

    India badly needs postgraduates -specialists and superspecialists , especially the need is evident in certain specialisations like oncology, radiotherapy and hematology but not only.If we can have well qualified specialists say from European Union where medical education standards are maintained by European Union Commission , or highly talented postgraduates from other countries after having them screened, we would gain. Till now the MCI act 1956 did not have any provisions to register foreign postgraduates except from 5 English speaking countries.

    There is only a screening test for foreign degrees which at the most make foreign postgraduates an MBBS equivalent doctor. Which sometimes is very humiliating, thus many doctors who were educated in European Union migrated to U.K. or remained where they qualified and settled.
    Although monetarily well off, many of us want to India to at last settle in our motherland, care for our old parents, to educate our children in India and above all to work in India among our countrymen. We want to enrich India with our high class , world class European Union education , on highly mechanised modern medical instruments.Many of us are now academic teachers, consultants, researchers , very experienced clinicians.

    But our age old MCI act 1956 has never ever cared to register foreign postgraduates , nor any mechanism was put for example by assessing knowledge of candidates via putting knowledge of these foreign postgraduates accessed on DNB exams , the same that Indian DNB postgraduates give ( and not separate to avoid bias).Or else accessing individually candidates with transparent norms , or else recognition of all of them(as we badly need specialists) .Recognising all foreign postgraduates is not a bad idea ,only condition being they should pass foreign board exams and minimum duration of specialisation should not be less than 3 years .

    In short no mechanism was put in place as to enable foreign postgraduates to get specialist registration in India.

    We kindly request you to enact a mechanism , howsoever strict it may be ,no matter , but a mechanism has to be there which enables foreign postgraduates to register themselves as specialists in India in the forthcoming NMC act 2017.