Among the many bills railroaded through Parliament in the ongoing session is an important one that scraps the Medical Council of India, replacing it with a National Medical Commission. The MCI was an institution that perfected the art of perpetuating corruption. In the powers vested in it to recognise medical colleges, it became a “licensing” arm whose sole job seemed to be to deal with authorising medical schools rather than address concerns over the quality of medical education. The NMC will nominate experts to help with the standard of medical education as well as practice. In setting the curricula and new courses, the commission will have absolute authority. In effect, the commission will be vested with the charge of reshaping the future of medical education with NEET, and improve medical practice with the proposed NEXT final undergraduate medical year exam to evaluate doctors.
Professional supervision through four verticals should help set better standards. The bill itself was testing the waters as it is more of an outline and all modalities are yet to be set. What the NMC will ultimately help with is in regulation of fees. There are an estimated 80,000 seats in 536 medical colleges, half of which are private and so are repositories of capitation fees that allow only students from rich families to become doctors. Despite the controversy it generated, the NEET exam has proved a great leveller. The NMC’s efficacy will be tested most in how it helps curb the malpractices of doctors. The NMC will be a big improvement on the MCI, but a lot depends on the quality of nominated members and how they handle the huge authority vested in them.