Withdraw "National Medical Commission Bill 2017"

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NMC Bill – an evil design to make medical education a ‘global commodity’ and corporatize health care

An Appeal from Doctors, Academicians, Educationists, Students and general Public

(Initiated by All India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO))

The central government has introduced “The National Medical Commission Bill-2017 (NMC Bill)” (Bill No: 279 of 2017) in the Parliament. One of the declared objectives of the central government is to abolish the corrupt MCI (Medical Council of India) and instead establish a ‘corrupt free NMC.’ It’s deplorable that the central government has taken this unilateral decision without consulting the doctors, academicians, educationists and students. For the following reasons we opine NMC bill needs to be withdrawn:

NMC says: The government can frame guidelines to determine fees for only 40% of the seats in private medical colleges. For the remaining 60% of the seats, the managements have unfettered rights to fix fees; the governments have no control over it (NMC Bill: ‘Powers and functions of the Commission’ Section 10, Sub-Section (I) clause (i) ). A student who has invested lakhs of rupees to become a doctor, will obviously force the patients to undergo unnecessary tests, surgeries or prescribe high cost drugs. Commercialization will become more rampant in noble fields like medical education and health care system. The Bill is silent over what will be the government quota in private medical colleges. Further, the managements have the right to increase the seats intake in Under-graduate and Post-graduate courses; for which they need not take the permission of the NMC. So, NMC legalizes all-out commercialization of Medical Education and corporatization of health care system.

NMC imposes one more extra exam, the “National Licentiate Examination (NLE)” to all Medical students (See NMC Bill: Chapter IV; ‘National Licentiate Examination’; Section-15, Sub-Section (1), (4), Sections: 32, Sub-Section (2), and 35) When the criterion for assessing a foreign student, registering a medical graduate and select student for PG courses are entirely different; then how can one NLE become a ‘uniform benchmark’? It sounds irrational and ridiculous. Even after a student studies MBBS for 5 and half years, treats patients in hospitals and passes various term / year end examinations conducted by the respective universities, NMC says that’s not enough. One has to pass another exam the NLE! The question paper of NLE being MCQ (Multiple Choice Questions) pattern and conducted online, it cannot asses ones clinical experience and analytical mind. It evident that the NLE is imposed on the entire nation in the interest of giving a free entry for the foreign medical students to practice or take up a PG seat in India (Refer Amendment to section 13 of the IMC Act). There is a decline in the availability of wealthy ‘student customers’ in India; whereas hundreds of rich students are in foreign nations eagerly waiting to purchase a medical degree. So, by imposing NLE, the NMC is out make medical education and health care a ‘global commodity’.

NEET (National Eligibility-cum Entrance Test) & NLE being international exams; to get a UG/PG Seat, our Indian students have to compete globally. Poor students from rural areas and weaker sections of the society are at a disadvantageous position; meritorious students from poor and middle class are being thrown out of the ambit of Medical Education. In this global competition, wealthy students with accessibility to coaching institutes are grabbing the seats. Unable to face the failure many bright boys and girls are committing suicides is a matter of grave concern for all of us. So, NMC and its entrance examinations are discriminatory and pro-rich.

In spite of various limitations MCI being an autonomous body; had elected representatives. There were representation from Medical fraternity, Universities and different states. These representatives had say over syllabus, curriculum and several administrative decisions. In the proposed NMC, non-medical people and people from private managements are nominated; whereas from amongst the medical fraternity and universities there will be hardly any representation. All 25 members of the NMC are nominated by the central government and the states will have no say over the appointment and functioning of NMC. (NMC Bill: Chapter II; ‘Constitution of National Medical Commission’; Sections & sub-sections from (3) to (8)). Such a bill will only give further impetus to corruption, favoritism, nepotism and all-out commercialization of medical education. Absolute control of central government over opening, administering, regulating, governing medical colleges tantamount to bureaucratic centralization. Establishment of NMC, is a cure more deadlier than the disease! So, a highly centralized and autocratic body like NMC is detrimental to Autonomy of Universities, our federal structure, democratic functioning.

The regulations to establish a medical colleges are relaxed to safeguard the interest of profiteering by the private managements. (NMC Bill: Chapter V; ‘Permission for establishment of new medical college’ Sections 28 & 29) The provision to hire third party agency for inspection, accreditation, providing ranking and ensure quality and standard of medical institution is disastrous (NMC Bill: Chapter V; ‘ Functions of Medical Assessment and Rating Board’; Section 26; sub-section (1) clauses (c) and (d)). These private agencies whose credibility are always questionable, may indulge in nefarious practices and award the institutions higher ranking; nobody can question this. So, NMC has fallen flat at the feet of Private managements and foreign institutions.

We are for scientific integration of all systems of medicine in the interest of enriching the treasure house of medical knowledge; save mankind and life. Scientists, eminent doctors, educationists and academicians of all these systems should undertake a rigorous scientific researches. Instead of taking up this task, the central government has decided to introduce a six month bridge courses to AYUSH doctors and allow them to practice modern medicine. This decision will only belittle both Indian system of medicine and modern medicine. When this has become a debatable issue, instead of creating further controversies, the central government should evolve a broad consensus by initiating a nationwide debate involving doctors from all systems of medicine, academicians, scientists and people at large. Until then this proposal should be withdrawn from NMC Bill.

To stop commercialization of professional Education, it has been the demand of the people that our parliament should pass a pro-student legislation to ensure the following: - “In all private professional colleges (1) there shall be no quota for the private managements. All seats should come under government quota, to be allotted on the basis of merit list prepared from the result of state level entrance or 2nd PUC (or Plus 2) results. (2) The fee structure shall be within the reach of the common man.” Instead of preparing such a law, it is deplorable that the central government has prepared the NMC Bill which is out to legalize corporatization of professional education and make it a global commodity.

Due to total neglect of “Government Hospitals and Public Health Care system”, there is mushrooming of Private hospitals and corporate hospitals. Household medical bills and hospitalization are skyrocketing; a simple hospitalization is pushing even middleclass families to poverty. As citizens it’s our aspiration that the central and state governments (1) take measures to stop this corporatization of health care system; (2) increase the budgetary allocation for health and education; and strengthen our government hospitals and health care system. We hope that as people’s representatives, you will keep up your obligation to serve the people; keep you party interest aside and as a true parliamentarian raise your voice to scrap the NMC Bill.

For all the above reasons, we the citizens of India demand:

The Central government to summarily reject this NMC Bill. Instead democratically reconstitute the Medical Council of India (MCI), ensure its Autonomous functioning and take stringent measures to check corruption. Pass a pro-student legislation to stop of sale of medical education.

Appeal to every state government:

As the NMC Bill takes away all Rights of the State Governments and makes them powerless. It is detrimental to our federal structure, democratic functioning and spirit of our Constitution. So, we appeal to every State Government to assert their Constitutional Rights and force the central government to scrap the NMC Bill.

Kamal Sain, President, AIDSO, All India Committee

Ashok Mishra, General Secretary, AIDSO, All India Committee

Phone: 09449612285 / 09073109308 / 09035939340

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