National Medical Commission Bill, 2016

The NITI Ayog has introduced the National Medical Commission Bill, 2016 which would be extending to the whole country recently in order to create world class educational system.  The bill seeks to repeal Indian Medical Council Act 1956 and be replaced by a body called National Medical Commission.

Salient Provisions

  • The bill seeks to address the following:
  • Ensure adequate supply of high quality medical professionals at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
  • Encourage medical professionals to incorporate the latest medical research in their work and to contribute to such research.
  • Provide for objective periodic assessments of medical institutions.
  • Facilitate the maintenance of a medical register for India and enforce high ethical standards in all aspects of medical services.
  • Ensure that the medical institutes are flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of a transforming nation.
Medical Advisory Council

The bill seeks to constitute a Medical Advisory Council which will undertake the following functions:

  • The Council shall serve as the primary platform through which the states would put forward their views and concerns before the National Medical Commission (NMC) and shall help shape the overall agenda in the field of medical education & training.
  • The Council shall advise the National Medical Commission (NMC) on the measures to determine, maintain and coordinate the minimum standards in the discipline of medical education, training and research.
  • The Council shall advise the National Medical Commission (NMC) on measures to enhance equitable access to medical education.

Criticism of the bill

It is argued that via attempting to restructure the Medical Council of India (MCI) in order to overhaul medical education in India, the Central government is actually taking away its autonomy.

Under the existing Indian Medical Council Act 1956, the states and the Centre nominate and elect members to the MCI, which is India’s apex body for regulating medical education and registering doctors, but a new proposal gives all authority to one committee constituted by the government.

The doctors argue that draft bill should actually check growing commercialisation of medical education; rather the policy seeks to further accelerate privatisation and commercialisation of medical education.

There is definite need for overhaul of the MCI because medical education and sciences have evolved rapidly over the past few decades. But the need of the hour is to ensure checks and balances so that the MCI doesn’t lose its autonomy and democratic structure.