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IMA Stages Nationwide Protests Against National Medical Commission Bill

Doctors and medical students staged protests across the country on Thursday against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, alleging that it was “anti-poor”.

The protests were organised on the call of the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

As part of the protest action, copies of the proposed legislation were burnt outside the IMA headquarters in Delhi and its 1,700 branch offices.

Students in medical colleges observed hunger strike against the “anti-poor” legislation.

The IMA will hold a “Delhi Andolan” on July 29, which includes a march by the medical fraternity from Nirman Bhavan to Jantar Mantar to demonstrate the imperative need for the amendments in the Bill.

The march will culminate with a Chhatra Sansad (students” parliament), IMA national president Santanu Sen said.

The association said the government has failed to address concerns raised by the medical fraternity.

The Bill, if passed in its present form, will only legalise quackery by empowering the community health providers to practice medicine, endangering the lives of people, it alleged.

“The other clause includes provision to fix fee of private medical colleges capped to 50 per cent of the seats has been further diluted to framing guidelines only. Now, 100 per cent of the private medical seats will be deregulated regarding the fee subject to non-binding guidelines. Medical education in the country will become expensive placing the lower socio-economic groups in great disadvantage.

“This effectively removes poor and middle class reckoning for such seats. However, lack of clarity on implementation has jeopardised the decision itself,” R V Asokan, Secretary General of IMA, earlier said.

“IMA is convinced that NMC Bill 2019 requires serious mind application by the Parliamentarians. It would strike the death knell of medical profession in the current format,” Sen said.

It provides for setting up of a National Medical Commission (NMC) in place of the Medical Council of India (MCI) and repeal of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.

The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 22. PLB SMN – Outlook

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