Rajya Sabha passes National Medical Commission Bill, 2019

Rajya Sabha passes National Medical Commission Bill, 2019

Rajya Sabha passes National Medical Commission Bill, 2019

NEW DELHI, AUGUST 1 (ANI): The Rajya Sabha on Thursday approved the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2019 by a voice vote with Health Minister Harsh Vardhan saying the Bill will go down in history as the biggest reform of the Narendra Modi government.

The NMS Bill that seeks to create National Medical Commission in place of Medical Council of India (MCI) has already been passed by the Lok Sabha.

"When history will be written, this Bill will be recorded as the biggest reform of the Narendra Modi government. You may mock the Bill but when it is passed today, the day will be written in golden words," he said while replying to the debate.

The Bill was cleared by the Parliament amid stiff protest from the medical fraternity who fear it would lead to deterioration of medical education and degradation of healthcare services.

Harsh Vardhan asserted that the changes being brought in the medical education would lead to a better future and the medical students, aspiring doctors and those in the profession need not to worry.

"I have fought for the rights of medical associations. I have always for preserving and protecting the integrity of the medical profession. It will bring qualitative changes in medical education," he said.

He also dispelled apprehensions raised by some of the members about NEET and NEXT exams, community health providers, reservation of the states and institutionalising quackery.

On members' doubts on community health providers, he said that community health providers is a concept which has been adopted by even developed nations.

"21 of the 25 members of the NMC are doctors and they will decide what will be the minimum qualification required to be community health providers. This is a WHO-approved practice," he said. On concerns over less representation of states in the NMC, the Minister said of the 25 members of the council, 11 are state representatives.

The Minister also clarified concerns over NEET and NEXT examinations.

"NEET is already an institutionalised mechanism. The examination has been successfully accepted by aspiring doctors and is in 13 languages. The syllabus takes into consideration the syllabus of various boards," he said. He said 40,000 of 80,000 of MBBS seats are under government institutions and there will be a cap on fees too.

"This Bill is aimed at the rapid expansion of medical seats while maintaining the quality of medical education and reducing cost. The need is to spur investment in education by simplifying procedures and focus on outcomes," he added.

Opposing the Bill, Congress' Jairam Ramesh said, "Health is a state subject, 75 per cent of the health expenditure is done by the state government and the Centre wants to control that."