By Vikas Vaidya:
Being a non-medico body, National Medical Commission (NMC) is likely to fail to deliver, is the fear expressed by the doctors in Nagpur. But the doctors feel disappointed as NMC bill is already passed and Government is firm to go with it. Soon Medical Council of India (MCI) whom NMC replaced will be a passe thing. Most of the doctors feel the bill is politically-motivated as there will be no elected member and everybody would be nominated by Government. Obviously, it is Government who would dominate the body by nominated the people of its own choice.
The doctors allege that Government wanted to remove an autonomy of apex body. What difference can a non-medico member make is evident from a fact that NMC has initiated an idea of community health volunteer where anybody can be appointed who just knows the basic knowledge which is dangerous. Dr Prakash Deo, prestigious member of State Body of Indian Medical Association pointed out, “There are 25 people and one chairman. They are all nominated by Government of India. The committee will have tenure of 4 years. NMC specified that member should have experience of 20 years of service and he should not attain exceeding age than 70 years.
Some of the clauses in the bill that are being strongly objected to include : Commission has 80 percent appointed members with no space for democracy, Secretary of the commission is a bureaucrat meaning a person not from medical profession background, fee capping for only 50 percent seats in private medical colleges thus giving scope for tuition fees that could be so high thus affecting the poor meritorious students dream of medicine studies, no proper clarification on NEXT for final MBBS students, unscientific bridge course, likely temporary registration for foreign nationals etc. While the delirious clauses have been retained, the Government has added section 32 legalizing quackery by empowering community health providers to practice medicine endangering the lives of the people. Dr Kush Jhunjhunwala, President IMA Nagpur said that NMC bill would severely affect the interest of medical students in the country. It is understandable that junior doctors across the country are on the protest path opposing this bill, added Dr Jhunjhunwala.
Dr Jhunjhunwala further said this bill is anti-poor, anti-federal and anti students bill. Dr Y S Deshpande, former State IMA President said, “IMA is opposing the bill. If at all they want to bring NMC they should incorporate the rules and regulations whatever we tell. If they identified the corruption in MCI, replacing the members is ok but scrapping the apex body is not the right decision. They have to maintain particular standards. For example, Indira Gandhi Government Medical College and Hospital everytime faced the issue of renewal. MCI was very much strict and always asked the college for affidavit. Everytime Chief Minister had to intervene. The stick applied by MCI worked and colleges tried to keep their houses in order. MCI- most members were elected. Everybody were medicos.
In NMC there are non-medicos. Most of the people will be nominated which is against the federal structure. In MCI all the states have representations. Now only six states will have representation that too rotation-wise. One state who got representation this year would get included after 12 years. Similarly University will get the chance to represent after every 14 years.” Now NMC will give license to anybody. It will allow everybody to practice independently at Primary Health Centre (PHC). Guidelines to be given regarding fees under Section 10, sub-section 1 (i) for 50% seats in private. NMC is likely to do corporatisation of medical education. Under Section 32, they will be creating community health workers including driver, attendant, ward boy which is laughable.
The section clearly say person related to modern medical practice should be included. He or she can be any. The Section 28 (7) may cause inspection if deemed necessary, the interpretation of which is, if NMC decides not to inspect the medical college it would be followed. Naturally, colleges too would not bother for it and they would behave as per their whims and fancies. Section 29 (b) (c) empower colleges to submit the compliance and receipt of which would paved the way for the approval. Section 4 allows crosspathy to run with Ayurvedic, homoeopathy to go hand in hand with modern medicine.
Confusion over EXIT As per present system, students doing MBBS appear in final examination conducted by Maharashtra University Health Sciences (MUHS) in Maharashtra. After clearing the final examination they appear for Post Graduate National Eligibility Entrance Test (PG-NEET) to get admission to PG course. Students after doing Under Graduation in foreign universities have to appear in screening test to become eligible for PG-NEET.
This is the practice going on hitherto. Now NMC has brought EXIT. Students did not have to appear in final MBBS but EXIT would be must for them. Similarly, the foreign students too would take EXIT. Both Indian and foreign students compete for PG seats all over India through EXIT. This will reduce the importance of respective state medical universities as they no role of their remain. Final MBBS examination has practical also along with theory.
Now students will have only theory examination. Students who go to foreign universities to take medical education do it because of lesser financial expenditure. They had to appear for the examination to practice in India. Any person with a foreign medical qualification shall have to qualify National Exit Test for the purpose of obtaining licence to practice medicine as medical practitioner and for enrollment in the State Register or the National Register, as the case may be, in such manner as may be specified by regulations. Indian students are opposing the EXIT because of above things.