In what can be termed as the biggest reforms in medical education in India, the Medical Council of India was replaced by the National Medical Commission on Friday (September 25).
A gazette notification to this effect was issued by the government, which also dissolves the board of governors and makes the age-old Indian Medical Council Act obsolete.
Professor Suresh Chandra Sharma, former head of the ENT department at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, is the chairman of NMC and Rakesh Kumar Vats, secretary general, BoG, MCI, is the new secretary.
The National Medical Commission (NMC) Act, 2019 got the President of India’s assent last year. The NMC will carry out the task of approving and assessing medical colleges, conducting common MBBS entrance and exit examinations, and regulating course fees. Besides, it will frame policies and co-ordinate the activities of autonomous boards.
The NMC Act has provision for a common entrance examination for MBBS, the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET), along with common counselling for all medical institutions in the country. This provision will prevent seat blocking in parallel counselling processes and will eliminate the need for students to approach multiple colleges for admission.
NEET and NEXT will be applicable to institutes of national importance such as all the AIIMS.
The commission has been given the mandate to improve access to quality and affordable medical education, and ensure availability of adequate and high quality professionals across the country.
The final year MBBS examination will be a nationwide exit test called NEXT, which will grant a licence to practice medicine, an MBBS degree, and entrance to postgraduate courses.
“The Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (102 of 1956) is hereby repealed with effect from September 25. The BoG appointed under section 3A of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (102 of 1956) in supersession of the MCI constituted under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the said Act shall stand dissolved,” said the gazette notification issued by the Union ministry of health and family welfare.
One of the most important expectations from NMC is to regulate cost of medical education. Importantly, NMC will work towards regulating fees and all other charges in 50% seats in private colleges, besides deemed to be universities.