On Friday, the Cabinet approved a landmark bill – the National Medical Commission, Bill 2017 – which will replace the Medical Council 1956 Act. Earlier, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said cabinet approved a bill to set up the National Medical Commission. The bill will seek to replace the Medical Council of India and will seek reforms in the field of medical education, move towards outcome-based regulation of medical education, create accountable and transparent procedures for maintaining standards in medical education and create a forward-looking approach towards ensuring sufficient health workforce in India.Sources told DNA that provisions in the ball will end heavy regulatory control over medical education institutions and help facilitate a shift towards outcome-based monitoring. It’s also expected to introduce a national degree examination, the first time such a provision with be added in higher education, similar to NEET and common counselling for undergrads.The bill also seeks to regulate up undergrad and postgrad seats which will ensure that at least 40% seats are reserved for meritorious students irrespective of their financial status.The draft bill provides for the constitution of four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting undergraduate and postgraduate education, assessment and accreditation of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under the National Medical Commission, a senior government functionary said.According to the draft bill, the commission will have government nominated chairman and members, and the board members will be selected by a search committee under the Cabinet Secretary.There will five elected and 12 ex-officio members in the commission.The draft bill also proposes a common entrance exam and licentiate exam which all medical graduates will have to clear to get practicing licences, the official said.As per the provisions of the draft bill, no permission would be needed to add new seats or to start postgraduate courses.The deterrence for non-compliance with maintenance of standards is in terms of monetary penalty.The draft bill is aimed at bringing reforms in the medical education sector which has been under scrutiny for corruption and unethical practices, the official said. With inputs from PTI

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Cabinet approves landmark bill to set up National Medical Commission to replace Medical Council of India