Highlights and Benefits of NMC bill- 2019,

As someone closely related to medical education for more than a decade, I believe NMC bill will bring a lot of improvement in Medical education. Of course, Modi bashers will always oppose any move by NDA government and Modi supporters will always support every action. Let me present some neutral logical facts based upon my experience.

1) NO NEET-PG

Instead of NEET-PG examination throughout India, (AIIMS/ PGI/ JIPMER entrance exam might also been scrapped) Only one exam, after final MBBS which is called as NEXT, (licentiate exam to practice medicine) this will be also uniform across India. P.G admissions will also be done through the Marks obtained in this exam only.

Exit exam will bring uniformity in medical education across country. Education in most private colleges and some government colleges is pathetic. Most students pay not only to college to get admission and annual fees, but they are also made to pay money to pass professional exams. It is a trend in many private colleges. Then they buy seats of post-graduation. Exit exam will ensure quality of medical education is maintained by a centralized exam. It will also help students to rank colleges based upon pass percentage of the students. The Nitty-gritties of pattern, course and timing of exam are still a speculation as it will happen 3 years after passing the bill. So, a lot will depend upon how the committee works out it’s fine details

2. Admission fee of 50% of the total seats of all the Private medical colleges in India will be controlled by union government.

Admission fee of private medical colleges is not under govt control. Most colleges fee was around 1-1.5 lakhs per annum (6-8 lakhs / 5yrs). All colleges used to charge capitation fee (under the table) ranging from 50 lakhs to 1 crore. After introduction of NEET (UG) exam and compulsory inclusion of Private colleges into this exam, they could not sell seats anymore through capitation fee. Thereafter fee has been increased to 18-24 lakhs per annum (1-1.25 Crores / 5yrs). By bringing 50% seats under regulation, government will provide another 22,000 MBBS seats to meritorious students.

{Presently there are 80 k total no. of MBBS seats approx. are available in India. Out of which 36 k are in all the GMCs & 44 k are in private & deemed medical colleges.

So meritorious students of India will get 36 k + 22k = 58 k MBBS seats/year}

Merging of FMGE exam with Exit exam will bring Indian students who are Foreign MG’s from other countries at par with Indian MG’s of Private and govt medical colleges. Medical education in many countries such as China, Ukraine/ Philippines is much cheaper and FMG’s have always cried of discrimination against them as they have to appear for FMGE exam (MCI Screening exam) in which pass percentage is usually very low (25%). It will also ensure that Private medical colleges are not able to increase fee for remaining 50% seats (which are not under government control as otherwise they will lose students to other countries. (5 yrs. Medical Education in countries such as China/ Ukraine/ Philippines cost around 15 -18 lakhs all inclusive)

3. No mention of Bridge course in this bill, instead of that “community health provider” posts will be created to render the medical services at remote places.

Community health workers have been existing in the Healthcare system since last 15 years. These were trained workers allowed to diagnose basic illness and dispense basic medicines based upon a chart. Whether the same workers be trained or AYUSH docs/ Dentists will be trained is something government has not yet clarified. There is no mention of penalty on CHW’s on going beyond their capabilities or practicing in cities / metropolitan instead of villages and far flung areas. Important to note is that Govt has dropped mention of any “Bridge Course”.

4. Search committee will select the chairman & 10 Government representatives & 15 elected members in the NMC. Total members will be 26, out of which 21 (15 elected + 6 selected by the GOI) will be from medical fraternity. Remaining 5 will be from non-medical field.

MCI had 100+ members out of which 70% were elected and rest were nominated. But surprisingly only 15 were enough to call a meeting and pass an order. So, there was a lot of corruption, lobbying and favouritism going on. Now at least 21 out of 26 members will be doctors (15 elected + 6 selected by the GOI) which is good.

5) Medical advisory council will have 30 members permanently, one member from each state. So all the states have representation in this council.

6) Four separate & autonomous boards will be formed which will look after, UG/PG/Ethics, Registrations/Rankings & assessment of medical colleges with well-defined mandate.

7) Role of State government council & state government essentials certificate, shall be remain with the state government only, as it was before.

Dr Sarvejeet Singh

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