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Government refers National Medical Comission bill to parliament committee on health, opens door for further talks

The 31-member committee, headed by Samajwadi Party MP Ram Gopal Yadav, however, has been asked to submit its report by Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan ahead of the budget session.

Published: 02nd January 2018 08:02 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd January 2018 08:02 PM   |  A+A-

IMA president Ravi Wankhedkar | Youtube

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The government today referred the controversial National Medical Commission bill to the parliamentary standing committee for health, following demands of several parliamentarians from opposition parties and its own coalition partners.

The 31-member committee, headed by Samajwadi Party MP Ram Gopal Yadav, however, has been asked to submit its report by Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan ahead of the budget session.

The Bill that proposes to introduce a national commission for regulating medical education and practice in the country was introduced by Union minister of health and family welfare J P Nadda in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

India’s largest doctors’ body- Indian Medical Association- that had called for a 12 hour strike of outpatient and routine services in the private hospitals across the country today called off the strike mid-way after the announcement and said it was their “victory”.

“We wanted the Bill to be referred to the standing committee as it opens the door for wider consultation over the bill that has many contentious provisions,” IMA president Ravi Wankhedkar said. “Now we are hopeful that the clauses that are not acceptable to us will be changed for good.”

The association that represents over 2.75 lakh doctors in India has strongly protested many clauses in the bill that is being introduced to replace the current corruption tainted medical education regulator Medical Council of India.

IMA has raised concerns over the fact that most of the 25-member Commission will be nominated by the Central government or will be ex-officio members and will have only five elected members as against the MCI which mostly has elected members from the states.

It has also put question mark on absence of elected members in all four of the proposed boards to govern undergraduate and postgraduate courses, rating and assessment of medical colleges and registration of doctors.

The association has also called the proposed body anti-community, anti-student, anti-federal and susceptible to corruption adding that it will make medical education and eventually healthcare costly and also allow few people at the top to take all important decisions.

The body also wants the government to do away with the proposed licentiate or exit examination that MBBS doctors will have to clear in order to get permission to practice and a clause that deals with introducing bridge courses to let AYUSH doctors practice modern medicine following a short term course.

IMA has already started meeting MPs across party lines to seek their support on their demands and has met around 250 parliamentarians so far.

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