Doctors affiliated with the Indian Medical Association (IMA), today held a protest nationwide against the government’s proposal to dissolve the Medical Council of India (MCI) and replace it with National Medical Commission.
Around 2.7 lakh IMA members held dharnas–‘Stop National Medical Commission IMA Satyagraha’– in over 500 cities simultaneously between 11 AM and 1 PM today.
IMA has opposed the proposed National Medical Commission Bill 2016, citing concern that the NMC will have non-elected members nominated by the government.In a letter to Union Health Minister J P Nadda, IMA members said they were in support of suitable amendments in the existing IMC Act, but is against scrapping it totally and making it a non-autonomous body.
“Anywhere in the world, medical profession is bestowed with reasonable autonomy. Patient care and safety are the main benefits of such autonomy. Regulators need to have autonomy and be independent of administrators. The proposedNMC will be a regulator appointed by administrators under their direct control.
“IMA supports suitable amendments in the existing IMC Act. IMA is against scrapping it totally and making it a non autonomous body,” said K K Aggarwal, National President (Elect) and Secretary General and Dr S S Agarwal, National President of the IMA, said in the letter.
The members further stated in the letter, the constitution of NMC takes away the voting right of every doctor in India to elect their medical council.
“MCI is a representative body of the medical profession in India. Roughly 2/3rd of its members are elected through various electoral processes. Any registered medical practitioner in the country can contest the elections and every qualified doctor can vote.
Abolishing a democratic institution and replacing it with a totally-nominated body is certainly a retrograde step and is unacceptable,” the letter said.
The World Medical Association (WMA) has also extended its support to the IMA over the issue.
“The autonomy of the medical profession is under threat throughout the world… The new commission proposed by the Indian government effectively means that non-doctors handpicked by the government will be regulating the medical profession without any autonomy. That is unacceptable,” Dr Ardis Hoven, Chair of the WMA said in a statement.
MCI has faced criticism from several quarters, for alleged corruption in the top medical body.
The Supreme Court, early this year had appointed a three-member Oversight Committee headed by ex-CJI R M Lodha to oversee functioning of the MCI, which regulates medical practice in the country, for at least a year.
Here are some pictures of the protest from across the country