Some drastic regulation is need of the hour, of the chaotic and non-uniform medical education system of India. Besides an urgent need for better standards, uniformity in standards of medical education and fee structure is desirable. National Medical Commission Act 2019 has been passed. NMC has replaced MCI. But attainment of desired goals will still depend upon, how well the future plans are implemented. The mammoth system needs an herculean overall and honest policy changes from the roots.
The National Medical Commission (NMC), a new body, will function as the country’s top regulator of medical education from Friday, a day after the Centre dissolved the Board of Governors—Medical Council of India (BoG-MCI) through a gazette notification.
The setting up of NMC was a government move to bring reforms in the medical education sector, especially aimed at replacing the MCI, which was tainted by corruption.
The government had dissolved the MCI in 2018 following the corruption charges and replaced it with a BoG, which was chaired by Dr VK Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog.
The body was functioning under the Indian Medical Council (IMC) Act, 1956.
“The BoG-MCI has been dissolved and the NMC replaced it with effect from Friday,” said Dr Paul.
The IMC Act stands repealed, and has been replaced by The NMC Act that came into existence on August 8, 2019.
“Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (102 of 1956) is hereby repealed with effect from September 25. The BoG appointed under section 3A of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (102 of 1956) in supersession of the MCI constituted under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the said Act shall stand dissolved,” stated the gazette notification issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW).
Professor Suresh Chandra Sharma, former head of the ear nose throat (ENT) department at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, has been appointed as the chairman of the NMC.
Dr Sharma had retired from AIIMS in January and was selected by a seven-member search committee for the post from 300-odd applications received from across the country. He was also one of the five short-listed candidates for the post of director, AIIMS, New Delhi, after the then director, Dr MC Misra, had retired in 2017.
Dr Rakesh Kumar Vats, secretary general, BoG-MCI, has been appointed as the secretary of the NMC by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC).
The NMC will have four separate autonomous boards: under-graduate medical education, post-graduate medical education, medical assessment and rating and ethics and medical registration.
The common final year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) examination will now be known as the National Exit Test (NEXT), according to the new medical education structure under the NMC.
NEXT will act as licentiate examination to practice medicine, the criteria for admission to post-graduate (PG) medical courses, and also for screening of foreign medical graduates.
Besides, the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET), NEXT will also be applicable to institutes of national importance such as all the AIIMS in a bid to ensure a common standard in the medical education sector in the country.