The Union Cabinet has cleared the National Medical Commission Bill which says final year MBBS exam will serve three purposes — licensiate test for MBBS passouts, PG entrance test and Foreign Medical Graduate Test.The Bill will reduce the cost of private medical education, ease the burden of entrance exams on students and create a mid-level health cadre with limited rights to prescribe drugs.
The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2019, which began its journey in 2016 with Niti Aayog presenting the first draft, replaces the Medical Council of India with a new medical education sector regulator — the NMC. It puts a legal cap on fees charged by private medical education providers.Called National Exit Test, this final year MBBS exam will replace the existing National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for PG and Foreign Medical Graduates Test. Earlier, the National Board of Examinations conducted both NEET-PG and FMG test.
The Bill reflects the concerns of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health, which had submitted its report on the Bill last year after the Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha. With the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha, the old Bill has lapsed and it needs to be revived.
The new NMC Bill will also create a new cadre of non-MBBS, mid-level health service providers like nursing practitioners and pharmacists with limited rights to dispense medicines.
The mid-level medical practitioners will get limited licence to practise specified medicines in primary and preventive healthcare settings and other settings under the supervision of a medical doctor. A separate register will be maintained for this new cadre with limited drug prescription rights. The register will be maintained by the Board of Ethics under the NMC which will replace the MCI.
Currently under Indian laws, only MCI-licensed and registered allopathic doctors can practise and prescribe medicine. The new NMC Bill does not have the provision for AYUSH doctors but speaks of a new mid-level health cadre to balance the gap between demand and availability of allopathic doctors.