Medical students and doctors across the country join hands in protest against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill 2019. The Indian Medical Association (IMA), the largest body of doctors and students in the country, has given a call to all students across medical colleges to observe a 24-hour hunger strike on Wednesday as a mark of protest against the bill.
Calling it “anti-student” and “anti-poor”, doctors and medical students under the Indian Medical Association staged a protest outside the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The group said the NMC was the worst change ever introduced in medical education. “Increasing management/NRI quota to more than 50%, bridge courses, non-democratic structure are a few highlights of this bigger disaster,” it said.
As a part of the protest call by Gujarat state branch of the medical students’ network of the Indian Medical Association, students of medical colleges in the city have burnt NMC Bill copies.
“The decision to couple NEXT and NEET lacks clarity and is absurd. While the licentiate examination will give license to the minimum qualified person to practice medicine, NEET will be selecting the best students aspiring for postgraduate medical education,” said IMA National President Santanu Sen. According to him, this move will prevent more than 50 per cent of the qualified MBBS graduates from practising modern medicine. The other clause includes a provision to fix fee of private medical colleges capped to 50 per cent of the seats which has been further diluted to framing guidelines only. Medical education in the country would become expensive. This would be a disadvantage for lower socio-economic groups.
“IMA has been fighting against the NMC Bill since 2016 and the bill has undergone cosmetic changes.  The core concerns raised by IMA have not been addressed,” a release issued by IMA said.
“There has never been a blatant pro-rich bias of this intensity. The NMC Bill is a pro-private management bill paving the way for widespread corruption,” Rajan Sharma, National President-Elect, IMA, added.
While the deleterious clauses have been retained, the government has added section 32 legalizing quackery by empowering community health providers to practice medicine endangering the lives of people. This is the single largest threat to the health of the nation,” adds the release.
The NMC bill was introduced in December 2017 but lapsed with the dissolution of Loksabha. NMC bill was introduced to replace the Medical Council of India and usher in major changes in the country’s medical education sector.

Source: The Outlook, Times of India, The Hindu.

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