The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill 2019 finally found its way through Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament, amid strong opposition from the medical community across the country against the passage of the bill.
The NMC bill, which proposes sweeping reforms in medical education in India, had been approved by the lower house (Lok Sabha) in the last week of July.
The bill, however, will come back to the Lok Sabha again before getting the official stamp of approval to become law as two new amendments were introduced by the Rajya Sabha.
Apart from seeking to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI), the central authority regulating medical education, with a National Medical Commission (NMC), the bill proposes a common final-year MBBS exam, called the National Exit Test (NEXT). All medical graduates are required to clear NEXT for practising medicine, seeking admission to post-graduate medical courses, and for enrolment in the state register or the national register. It will serve as a screening test for foreign medical graduates, as well.
Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), the resident doctors, as well as medical students, argue that the new legislation will privatise medical education and legalise quacks in rural areas.