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Scores protest agaisnt NMC Bill in city

New Delhi: Over 5,000 doctors, medical students and healthcare professionals from across the country staged a protest against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill 2019 after a call by IMA, with a march from AIIMS to Nirman Bhawan on Monday.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA), the largest body of doctors and students in the country with around three lakh members, has been opposing the NMC Bill that seeks to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI), saying it is "anti-poor and

anti-students" and the current version has only undergone cosmetic changes as the core concerns raised by the medical fraternity still remain unaddressed.

"The NMC is the worst bill ever introduced in the medical education system and unfortunately a health minister, who is also a doctor, is adamant in destroying his own education system. We will not accept this atrocity at any cost.

The Bill provides for setting up of a National Medical Commission (NMC) in place of the MCI for development and regulation of all aspects of medical education, profession and institutions.

"The proposed bill is anti-people, anti-poor, anti-students, anti-democratic and draconian in nature," National President of IMA, Dr Santanu Sen, said, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP from All India Trinamool Congress. The protestors were detained from near Nirman Bhawan and later let off.

Since its introduction in Parliament, the medical fraternity has voiced protest against the Bill with thousands of its copies being burnt at various organisations across the nation. National President –Elect, IMA, Dr Rajan Sharma, said addition of Section 32 in the bill will only legalise quackery by empowering the community health providers to practice medicine, thereby endangering the lives of people.

The IMA is also opposing other provisions in the bill, including the decision to couple NEXT and NEET and regulation of fees by the NMC for 50 percent seats in private medical colleges and deemed universities.

Medical education in the country will become expensive placing the lower socio-economic groups in great disadvantage, Dr RV Asokan, Secretary-General of

IMA, said.

The NMC bill proposes a common final year MBBS examination, to be known as National Exit Test (NEXT), for admission to post-graduate medical courses and for obtaining license to practice medicine.

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