Tamil Nadu calls for scrapping of National Medical Commission Bill

The National Medical Commission Bill, which seeks to replace Medical Council of India with the National Medical Commission (NMC) bill has come under severe criticism. The Tamil Nadu Government Doctors’ Association (TNGDA) has said that it is undemocratic and lacking transparency and has demanded immediate scrapping of the Bill.

Speaking to media here on Thursday, Association president K. Senthil said that all the 20 persons who would be part of the NMC, including the Chairperson and Member Secretary, would be government nominees and nine of these members could be from non-medical background.

“This is accumulation of all the powers by the government and will lead to arbitrariness and opaqueness in functioning. How can a commission, with nearly 50 per cent of people from non-medical background, decide on medical curriculum and other aspects of the system?” he asked.

“The Centre might as well abandon the idea of a separate body and manage with a group of secretaries,” he said.

The Bill proposed the formation of another body called Medical Advisory Council (MAC), which would have one member from each State and two members from all the Union Territories. “However, this body does not appear to have any powers,” Dr. Senthil said.

He added that five members from the MAC would be nominated as members of the NMC on a rotation basis for a tenure of four years. “So, effectively, a State will get a representative at the NMC once in 20 years,” he said.

Referring to few other clauses of the Bill, he said they were ambiguous and detrimental to the quality of medical education. “For instance, the Bill talks about engaging third party agencies for inspection of medical colleges. It also says that fees will be determined by the commission only for 40 per cent of the seats in private colleges,” he said.

Dr. Senthil said though there were issues to be sorted out with the MCI, the proposed bill did not address them in any way.

He said that the TNGDA would engage in protests and coordinate with associations from other States in opposing the Bill if it was not scrapped immediately.

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