New Delhi: The National Licentiate Exam or the Exit Exam, which has been proposed by the National Medical Commission Bill, 2017 has indeed become the bone of contention between the medical fraternity and the government. The bill proposes the licentiate exam as a gateway for all passouts of MBBS courses as a gateway to practice in the country.
The move of licentiate exam immediately met with objections from doctors and medical students, who have decried the additional burden of a new exam. Doctors have opposed the bill, demanding the government to remove the requirement of the exam.
Recently, Ministry of health has released clarifications in the form of answers to FAQs on Bill. In the said clarifications, the Ministry has justified the National Licentiate Exam, stating that the proposal to include the exam has been based on the recommendations given by the department related parliamentary standing committee adding that it is proposed to be merged with the PG Entrance Exam as a gateway to PG medical courses in the country.
The Ministry has clarified that currently No format for the licentiate exam has been prescribed in the Act. As an expert body, the NMC will take a call on the format and design of NLE and frame regulations after appropriate consultation.
It is reported that many in medical fraternity had proposed that the National Licentiate Exam should be merged with the final year exam, and there should be a common final year exam across all medical colleges in the country.
Responding to the suggestion, the Ministry has informed that parliamentary standing committee had noted the demand for a common final year exam instead of an exit exam but had finally recommended a common exit exam.
Comparing the pros and cons of merging Exit exam with final year MBBS exam, the clarifications state that the biggest advantage of a common final year exam is that students will have to appear for only one examination. However, there are several issues which will have to be considered by NMC before deciding to go for a common final year exam. These include:
- Knowledge of only 4 subjects would be tested to grant a licence.
- Universities may not agree since their right to confer degrees would be subordinated to an exam conducted by NMC.
- Those who fail would have to stay behind in the concerned medical college, leading to issues of infrastructure and extra fees payment. They would not even become graduates in order to qualify for various recruitment examinations which are open to graduates.
- Students tend to repeat NEET-PG in order to improve their rank, so that they can get admission to PG courses in good colleges. Rank improvement will not be possible with a common final year exam.
- NMC would become party to all litigation related to local issues in Colleges. In the event of a stay order granted due to local reasons such as delayed session in a College, the entire licentiate exam will get affected.
- Foreign medical graduates who wish to practice in India would either have to be asked to rewrite the common final year exam or FMGE will have to be restored.
The Ministry also clarified that the exam would not be required for organisations such as AIIMS PGIMER since the Institutes of National Importance have their own Act of Parliament and do not fall within the purview of NMC. However, if they wish to take up post-graduation in any medical college within the purview of NMC, then they would have to take the licentiate exam as it will be utilized for post-graduate admissions also.
The clarifications also state that the exam can be repeated to improve rank for PG admissions. To read the full FAQs, click on the following link:-