Doctors call off stir after govt sends NMC bill to parliamentary standing panel

Doctors call off stir after govt sends NMC bill to parliamentary standing panel

Bowing to the Opposition's demand, the Centre on Tuesday agreed to send the controversial National Medical Commission Bill, 2017, to a panel of parliamentarians for one more round of scrutiny.

The bill that seeks to replace the corruption-ridden Medical Council of India with a new body, triggered strong protests from doctors who gave a call for a nationwide strike between 6 am to 6 pm on Tuesday.

The call was withdrawn soon after the Lok Sabha sent the bill to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

Reading out a statement in the Lower House, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said several political parties, including those from the Opposition and the ruling NDA, wanted the bill to be sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health for review and that the government acceded to their demand.

The minister, however, requested Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to ask the committee to submit its report before the budget session, which is expected to start by January end, so that a new law can be brought  out at the earliest, following an order of the Supreme Court and a standing committee report.

Sumitra said the standing committee report should be tabled before the budget session.

Normally, the House panels  are given a period of three months but there is already one standing committee report on the matter, she noted.

Health Minister J P Nadda had introduced the bill in the House last Friday amid protests from Congress members, who had demanded an examination of the bill by the MPs.

In the Rajya Sabha, Nadda said he had spoken to the IMA representatives on Monday and put forth the ministry's perspective on the draft legislation.

"The bill is beneficial to the medical community," he said.

Under the proposed NMC, there would be four autonomous boards to carry out the regulatory issues dealing with undergraduate and post-graduate education; medical education infrastructure and registration of doctors and medical ethics.

The commission will regulate the fees of only 40% of the seats while the rest have been left to be decided by the college.

In another contentious provision, the bill provides for an ayurvedic or homoeopathic doctor to prescribe some of the modern medicines after doing a bridge course.


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