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PARLIAMENT BILLS

THE NATIONAL MEDICAL COMMISSION BILL, 2019


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KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BILL

The National Medical Commission Bill, 2019 was introduced by the Minister of Health and Family Welfare on July 22, 2019.  The Bill seeks to repeal the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and provide for a medical education system which ensures:
  • Availability of adequate and high quality medical professionals.
  • Adoption of the latest medical research by medical professionals.
  • Periodic assessment of medical institutions.
  • An effective grievance redressal mechanism. 

Constitution of the National Medical Commission

  • The Bill sets up the National Medical Commission (NMC).  Within a span of 3 years of the passage of the Bill, state governments will establish State Medical Councils at the state level. 
  • The NMC will consist of 25 members, which are appointed by the central government.
  • Search Committee will recommend names to the central government for the post of Chairperson, and the part time members.  
  • The Search Committee will consist of 7 members which includes the Cabinet Secretary and 5 experts which are nominated by the central government (of which 3 will have experience in the medical field).
  • Members of the NMC will include:
    • The Chairperson (must be a medical practitioner), 
    • Presidents of the Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate Medical Education Boards, 
    • Director General of Health Services, Directorate General of Health Services, 
    • Director General, ICMR, and 
    • 5 members (part-time) to be elected by the registered medical practitioners from amongst themselves from states and union territories for a period of 2 years.

Functions of the National Medical Commission  

  • To frame policies for regulating medical institutions and medical professionals.
  • To assess the requirements of healthcare related human resources and infrastructure.
  • To ensure compliance by the State Medical Councils of the regulations made under the Bill.
  • To frame guidelines for determination of fees for up to 50% of the seats in private medical institutions and deemed universities which are regulated under the Bill.

Medical Advisory Council

Under the Bill, the central government will constitute a Medical Advisory Council.  which will be the primary platform through which the states/union territories can put forth their views and concerns before the NMC.  Also, the Council will advise the NMC on measures to determine and maintain minimum standards of medical education.

Autonomous boards  

The Bill sets up autonomous boards under the supervision of the NMC, each of which will consist of a President and four members, which are appointed by the central government.  These boards are:
  • The Under-Graduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB) and the Post-Graduate Medical Education Board (PGMEB)These Boards will be responsible for formulating standards, curriculum, guidelines, and granting recognition to medical qualifications at the undergraduate and post graduate levels respectively.
  • The Medical Assessment and Rating Board (MARB):  This board will have the power to levy monetary penalties on medical institutions which fail to maintain the minimum standards as laid down by the UGMEB and PGMEB.  It will also grant permission for establishing a new medical college, starting any postgraduate course, or increasing the number of seats.  
  • The Ethics and Medical Registration Board:  It will maintain a National Register of all licensed medical practitioners and regulate professional conduct.  Only those who are included in the Register will be allowed to practice medicine.  It will also maintain a separate National Register for community health providers.

Community health providers

Under the Bill, the NMC may grant a limited license to certain mid-level practitioners connected with the modern medical profession to practice medicine which may prescribe specified medicines in primary and preventive healthcare.

Entrance examinations

There will be a uniform National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for admission to under-graduate and post-graduate super-speciality medical education in all medical institutions regulated under the Bill.

The Bill proposes a common final year undergraduate examination called the National Exit Test or NEXT for the students graduating from medical institutions to obtain the license for practice.  This test will also serve as the basis for admission into post-graduate courses at medical institutions under this Bill.


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