What is the NMC bill and why are doctors protesting over it?
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Resident doctors are on strike in the country's premier medical institute- AIIMS (All India Institute Of Medical Sciences), New Delhi against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2019. Resident Doctors Association (RDA) is observing a one-day strike across the nation on Thursday against provisions of National Medical Commission Bill.

One of the protesting resident doctors told ANI, “Our strike is against some provisions of NMC Bill. Resident doctors have withdrawn from services. Faculty and consultants are providing services. If the government doesn’t listen to us then it would be counted as one of the black days in the history of the medical fraternity.” A large number of resident doctors were seated in the waiting area of AIIMS, Delhi, holding placards terming the Bill ‘anti-poor’ and ‘anti-national’. “It will cripple the health system,” read a banner. RDA has stated that this proposed Bill will increase corruption and decrease autonomy in medicine.

Medical students in Kerala's Trivandrum also demonstrated outside Raj Bhavan against provisions of the Bill. Holding banners stating ‘No to NMC’, they also burned pieces of paper with NMC written on them.

Opposing the Bill Congress MP 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.” Ramesh also raised the question whether the Exit Exam proposed in the NMC Bill will be a test of theoretical knowledge or that of a clinical capability as well. “Medical is not engineering. There has to be a clinical component,” he said.

What is NMC Bill?

· On July 29, the Lok Sabha had passed the NMC Bill which seeks to create National Medical Commission in place of Medical Council of India (MCI) with Health Minister Harsh Vardhan terming it as an ‘anti-vested interests Bill’ which will be remembered as one of the greatest reforms brought by the Modi government.

· It provides for the repeal of the Indian Medical Council Act 1956.

· The Bill provides that the common final year MBBS exam be known as National Exit Test (NEXT) which would serve as a licentiate exam for entrance to post-graduate medical courses and as a screening test for foreign medical graduates.

· Dr Sumedh Sandanshiv, president, Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA), charged that the bill was ‘anti-poor, anti-student and undemocratic’.

· The bill was passed by Lok Sabha on Monday even as thousands of doctors protested against it across the country. It provides for setting up of a National Medical Commission in place of the MCI for development and regulation of all aspects of medical education, profession and institutions.

· The fraternity claims that the bill will encourage quackery.

Health Minister claims NMC as Historic Bill

Amid widespread protests by the medical fraternity, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in a tweet on Wednesday night said he would table the NMC bill for consideration and passage in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. He also assured countrymen that the ‘historic’ bill, if passed, would bring ‘mega changes in the medical education sector’.

(Inputs from ANI and PTI)

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