NEW DELHI: India’s new medical education regulator, the National Medical Commission (NMC), comes into force from Friday, abolishing the 87-year-old Medical Council of India, which was tainted by corruption in its later years.
The Centre has notified the 33-member NMC, which will be chaired for three years by Suresh Chandra Sharma, retired HoD, ENT, AIIMS, New Delhi, while while Dr Rakesh Kumar Vats, ex-secretary general, Board of Governors – MCI has been appointed as the secretary of the NMC for a period of three years.
The NMC will have four autonomous boards to regulate undergraduate medical education, postgraduate medical education, medical assessment and ratings, and ethics and medical registration.
The NMC will also frame policies to implement the new legislation – National Medical Commission Act 2019 – passed by both houses of Parliament last year to reform the medical education sector.
The key provisions of the NMC Act, 2019, includes fee regulation on 50% seats in private medical colleges and deemed universities and commencement of final-year MBBS exam as a National Exit Text, which will serve as a licentiate exam for entrance to post graduate medical courses and as a screening test for foreign medical graduates.
Students will be able to get admission to seats in all medical colleges and to institutes of national importance like AIIMS, PGI Chandigarh and JIPMER through a single counselling process. The Act does not impose any restriction on the number of attempts at NEXT examination.
Enactment of the new law will also end of inspections for college renewals
The NMC will also make guidelines for a new cadre of non-MBBS mid-level health service providers such as nursing practitioners and pharmacists with limited rights to dispense medicines.
The development also means the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 stands repealed and along with it all its bodies such as Medical Council of India (MCI) and Board of Governors (BoG) in supersession of the MCI were also automatically dissolved.
“Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (102 of 1956) is hereby repealed with effect from September 25.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,” a gazette notification from the health ministry said.
Apart from the Chairman, the NMC will consist of 10 ex-officio members and 22 part-time members appointed by the Central government.
“This historic reform will steer medical education towards a transparent, qualitative and accountable system. The basic change that has happened is that the regulator is now ‘selected’ on merits, as opposed to an ‘elected’ regulator. Men and women with impeccable integrity, professionalism, experience and stature have been now placed at the helm to steer the medical education reforms further,” the health ministry said.