Representational picture
Representational picture

New Delhi: Health services were affected for a brief period today as over 50,000 resident doctors and medical students of several hospitals across the country, including AIIMS here, observed a token strike over demands regarding the National Medical Commission Bill.

The call for the stir was given by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) which said that the Bill, if passed in the current form even after some amendments, will lead to continuation of nationwide strike of doctors and medical students.

Union Health Minister J P Nadda, meanwhile, talked to the IMA President over the issue.

In the national capital, a protest was held outside Gate No.1 of AIIMS.

The AIIMS RDA President Harjit Singh Bhatti said, “They trapped us into the amendments of proposed in NMC Bill but these amendments are not at all acceptable.” The agitating doctors said the fee regulation in private medical colleges remains unaddressed which is an issue of greater public concern.

In many states the fee of around 85 per cent of the medical seats is fixed by the state governments.

The NMC will increase the quota of the private colleges from 15 to 50 per cent.

“The NMC Bill will push the medical education completely away from the reach of deserving common people. It is the lower socio-economic class which will be the loser. This anti-poor, pro-rich slant of the NMC should be corrected,”said Dr? Ravi Wankhedkar, National President of the IMA.

The Cabinet has apparently agreed to four of the 10 demands put up by the IMA in connection with the Bill, the association said in a statement.

The IMA Secretary General R N Tandon expressed concern about unaddressed issues such as token presence of elected members, sub-optimal representation to state governments and health universities and the lack of autonomy of the NMC itself.

The doctors body has also decided to come out with a health policy for the benefit of the community and fraternity and to support those parties and candidates, who accept it. At the meeting of the State Working Committee of IMA Karnataka State Branch on April 8 at Raichur, the national president will launch this policy, it said.

The Cabinet on March 28 approved amendments to the NMC Bill including removing the contentious provision of “bridge course”, which would have allowed practitioners of alternative medicines to pursue allopathy.

The Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi also approved that the final MBBS examination would be held as a common examination throughout the country, and would serve as an an exit test, to be called the National Exit Test (NEXT).

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Free Press Journal