New Delhi: A Bill for setting up a National Medical Commission that seeks to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) was sent to a standing committee of Parliament on Tuesday after request from several opposition parties, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar informed the Lok Sabha. He also urged the Speaker to instruct the committee to give its report before the Budget Session of Parliament.

Meanwhile, the medical bandh called by IMA against the National Medical Commission Bill was withdrawn as the bill was sent to the standing committee of Parliament. The indefinite strike staged in front of the Raj Bhavan also was stopped.

The standing committee will consider making necessary alterations in the bill as widespread protest arose against it. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said that while a Parliamentary panel gets at least three months to look into a Bill, since this Bill was being sent to a panel for the second time, the report can come before the Budget session.

IMA had informed Union Health Minister J. P. Nadda about the concerns regarding the controversial points in the bill. Dr. Ravi Wankhedkar, the National President of IMA, alleged that the bill will cause difficulties to the students from poorer sections of the society in pursuing MBBS. This will adversely affect the standards of education, which in turn will boost corruption also.

IMA strongly opposes the condition in the bill which reduces the government’s power to determine the fees to medical seats. The government can determine the fees to only 40 per cent of the seats. IMA demands that this condition, which reduces the importance of academic excellence and place money power on top, should be removed.

The National Medical Commission Bill seeks to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new body and proposes to allow practitioners of alternative medicines such as homeopathy and Ayurveda to practise allopathy after completing a "bridge course". Terming the Bill as "anti-people and anti-patient", the IMA has stated that the bill purported to eradicate corruption is "designed to open the floodgates of corruption".

(Agencies)