The Rajya Sabha cleared the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill with a crucial amendment brought in by the government to increase representation of States in the new body, as demanded by the Opposition. The Bill was passed by a voice vote. The Lok Sabha had earlier cleared the proposed law on July 29. The NMC will replace the Medical Council of India (MCI).
In his reply to the debate, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the State Medical Council representation was being increased from five to nine members and State University representation from six to 10 members.
The new body, after the law is implemented, will be constituted in nine months and in the next three years, it will set up the mechanism for conducting the common final year examination or the National Exit Test (NEXT) for all MBBS students. Based on the results, the students will get their degrees and licence to practise (after an internship). Performance in the Theory paper will decide eligibility for admission to post-graduation courses.
On the issue of NMC deciding fee/other charges of 50% seats in private institutions, the Minister clarified that the body would make rules to cap the fees for other seats. The State would enter into memoranda of understanding with private colleges to regulate fee structure for the other 50% seats.