Days after the medical community raged over the proposed National Medical Commission Bill, Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared the air on the controversial legislation.
In an exclusive interview with the news agency IANS, PM Modi said that the aim of the government vis-a-vis healthcare is clear — to create a more transparent medical education system.
The NMC bill proposes to replace the Medical Commission of India with a National Medical Commission to regulate all aspects of medical education, profession and institutions.
But doctors say some sections in the bill unless amended, will deteriorate medical education and degrade healthcare services.
PM Modi said that the NMC will do away with the existing corruption in the Indian medical field.
“When we formed the government in 2014, there were many concerns about the existing system of medical education…A parliamentary committee did rigorous study and took a very dull view of the state of affairs in medical education. It pointed out mismanagement, lack of transparency and arbitrariness…We decided to go through with it [reforms] because this is not a matter that can be taken lightly, as it concerns the health of our people and future of our youth,” the prime minister said.
He added that the bill had been tabled based on the recommendations of an expert committee. “We set up an expert group to look into what is plaguing it [medical education system]. The expert group studied the system carefully and brought out the problems and improvement areas. It is based on the suggestions from experts that we came to the current bill,” PM Modi said.
Explaining the benefits of the soon to be set up NMC, PM Modi added, ” “The National Medical Commission is a far-reaching reform in this space and seeks to correct the prevalent problems. It contains multiple reforms that curb avenues of corruption and boost transparency.”
“It will ensure transparency, accountability and quality in the governance of medical education in the country. It aims to lessen the burden on students, increase the number of medical seats and reduce the cost of medical education. This means more talented youth can take up medicine as a profession and this will help us increase the number of medical professionals,” he went on to add.
PM Modi also elaborated on how the NMC will help meet the deficit of healthcare providers in India. “We are also working to ensure that there is at least one medical college between every 3 districts. With rising awareness about healthcare, rising incomes and a greater focus on aspirational goals among people, we will need thousands and thousands of doctors to fulfil the demand, especially in rural and urban areas. The NMC seeks to address these issues for a better outcome for all stakeholders. You must have also read that the academic year 2019-20 will see the biggest addition of medical seats in government colleges in a single year with the creation of around 2 dozen new government medical colleges. Our road map is clear — a transparent, accessible and affordable medical education system leading to better healthcare outcomes,” he said.