National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019

Context: The Union Cabinet, has given its approval to the official amendments in the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019 for amending the Homoeopathy Central Council (HCC) Act, 1973.

National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019; INDIATHINKERS

Presently, the Bill is pending in Rajya Sabha. What is the significance of the amendments proposed? The amendments will ensure necessary regulatory reforms in the field of Homoeopathy education and will also enable transparency and accountability for protecting the interest of the general public.  The Commission will promote availability of affordable healthcare services in all parts of the country. Key Highlights of the Bill The National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019 was introduced in Rajya Sabha on January 7, 2019. The Bill seeks to repeal the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973 and provide for a medical education system which ensures :  (i) Availability of adequate and high quality homoeopathic medical professionals, (ii) Adoption of the latest medical research by homoeopathic medical professionals,  (iii) Periodic assessment of medical institutions, and  (iv) An effective grievance redressal mechanism.   Constitution of the National Commission for Homoeopathy: The Bill sets up the National Commission for Homoeopathy (NCH) which will consist of 20 members, appointed by the central government. These posts will have a maximum term of four years.  The Search Committee will consist of 6 members including the Cabinet Secretary and 3 experts nominated by the central government (of which two will have experience in the homoeopathic field). Members of the NCH will include:  (i) the Chairperson,  (ii) the President of the Homoeopathy Education Board,  (iii) the President of the Medical Assessment and Rating Board for Homoeopathy,  (iv) the Director General, National Institute of Homoeopathy,  (v) Advisor or Joint Secretary in-charge of Homoeopathy, Ministry of AYUSH, and  (vi) four members (part-time) to be elected by the registered homoeopathic medical practitioners from amongst themselves from the prescribed regional constituencies under the Bill. Within three years of the passage of the Bill, state governments will establish State Medical Councils for Homoeopathy at the state level. Key Functions of the National Commission for Homoeopathy: The major functions of the NCH include:  (i) framing policies for regulating medical institutions and homoeopathic medical professionals,  (ii) assessing the requirements of healthcare related human resources and infrastructure,  (iii) ensuring compliance by the State Medical Councils of Homoeopathy of the regulations made under the Bill, and  (iv) ensuring coordination among the autonomous boards set up under the Bill. Provision for Autonomous boards: The Bill also sets up certain autonomous boards under the supervision of the NCH.  These boards are:  (i) The Homoeopathy Education Board which will be responsible for formulating standards, curriculum, guidelines for setting up of medical institutions, and granting recognition to medical qualifications at the undergraduate and post graduate levels respectively, . (ii) The Medical Assessment and Rating Board for Homoeopathy which will determine the process of rating and assessment of medical institutions and have the power to levy monetary penalties on institutions which fail to maintain the minimum standards  It will also grant permission for establishing a new medical institution,   (iii) The Board of Ethics and Medical Registration for Homoeopathy which will maintain a National Register of all licensed homoeopathic medical practitioners, and regulate their professional conduct.  Only those medical practitioners included in the Register will be allowed to practice homoeopathic medicine. Provision for the Advisory Council for Homoeopathy: Under the Bill, the central government will constitute an Advisory Council for Homoeopathy.  who will be the primary platform through which the states/union territories can put forth their views and concerns before the NCH.  Further, the Council will advise the NCH on measures to determine and maintain minimum standards of medical education. Provisions for Entrance examinations: There will be a uniform National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for admission to under-graduate homoeopathy education in all medical institutions regulated by the Bill.  The NCH will specify the manner of conducting common counselling for admission in all such medical institutions.   The Bill proposes a common final year National Exit Test for the students graduating from medical institutions to obtain the license for practice.  Further, there will be a uniform Post-Graduate National Entrance Test which will serve as the basis for admission into post-graduate courses at medical institutions. The Bill also proposes a National Teachers’ Eligibility Test for postgraduates of homoeopathy who wish to take up teaching homoeopathy as a profession. Appeal on matters related to professional and ethical misconduct: State Medical Councils will receive complaints relating to professional or ethical misconduct against a registered homoeopathic medical practitioner.

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