NMC Bill: Unhappy Odisha Doctors Threaten To Join Nationwide Stir

Bhubaneswar/Delhi: The countrywide agitation by doctors against National Medical Commission Bill, which was passed yesterday in the Upper House of the Parliament, is slowly gaining momentum with doctors and medical students in Odisha threatening to join the stir soon.

The Rajya Sabha passed the NMC Bill for replacing the corruption-plagued MCI with a new body, in what was described by the government as one of the biggest reforms for medical education in the country.

Even though the bill awaits President’s assent, medical students have expressed their resentment over the bill due to several reasons and are staging protest against various provisions of the bill.

The NMC Bill seeks a common final-year MBBS exam, to be called National Exit Test (NEXT), for admission to PG courses and also for obtaining a practice licence.

“We have supported the NMC bill but some of the clauses are completely unacceptable,” a student of SCB Medical College, Suchismita Sarangi, said.

As per the provisions of the bill, after completing a bridge course, Unani and Ayurveda doctors can prescribe allopathy medicines. Also, doctors and nurses can treat patients upto a limited extent which has been strongly opposed by doctors fearing that it will lead to quackery.

Meanwhile, the Odisha Medical Services Association (OMSA) is preparing for a strike opposing the bill. “Why have they introduced bridge course? They are not sensitive towards students and it is apparent from the steps they have taken. We strongly condemn it,” General Secretary of OMSA, Punyashlok Das, said.

President of SCB Medical College(UG), Dipak Kumar Samal, said, “18,000 seats have been given to private colleges. So, it can be estimated how much amount of corruption will be done through it.”

Earlier, fees were finalised by the State government for 85% seats of private colleges while for the rest 15% seats, the decision rested on the college authority. But with the proposal of 50-50 seat sharing between State government and college authorities, it is being argued that it may stop brilliant students from financially weaker background to get admission in private colleges.

On the other hand, political parties are opposing the setting up of National Medical Committee for a period of 2 years.

“Members will be part of the committee on rotation basis under which Odisha will not get a chance. We hope that the Centre will accept the amendments,” said Odisha Health Minister Naba Kishore Das.

“There is a need to spur investment in the field of medical education sector by simplifying procedure and focusing on outcomes instead. It is not to create inconvenience for students but to facilitate,” said Health Family Welfare Minister, Harsh Vardhan.

The bill seeks to repeal the Indian Medical Council Act 1956.