NEW DELHI: As President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill on Thursday, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan stressed that the constitution of the new body replacing the present medical education regulator, Medical Council of India, will lead to greater government control in regulating fee in private medical colleges.
Calling the NMC Act the biggest reform in the medical education sector in the country, Vardhan said the new 29-member commission will be formed within next six months, though the Act has a provision for its formation within 9 months.
He also sought to allay the fears around the Act saying that some professional bodies are “spreading the myths without fully understanding its aims and provisions”.
The health minister said while at present fee regulation committees in states fix a cap on the tuition fee charged by private medical colleges, deemed universities are not regulated at all. “Also, the regulation is only for tuition fee while the private institutes charge exorbitant amounts in the name of hostel fees which are mandatory.” he said.
“That, in fact, will change under the NMC as overall, 50 per cent of all seats in non-public colleges will be directly regulated by the commission. So, overall the government will fix fees for 75 per cent MBBS seats as the distribution of seats in government and private colleges is nearly 50:50,” clarified the minister. “Also, the states will be free to regulate fee for the rest of the 50 per cent seats in private colleges.”
He also said that the NMC Act a progressive legislation which will reduce the burden on students, ensure probity in medical education, bring down costs of medical education, simplify procedures, help to enhance the number of medical seats, ensure quality education and provide wider access to people for quality healthcare.
The clarification by the minister comes after protests by a section of doctors, including the Indian Medical Association that has been contesting many clauses of the legislation.