The IMA on Monday opposed the draft Postgraduate Medical Education Regulation Bill that proposes a 100-per cent central allotment for state medical seats, stating that it is “against the autonomy and envisioned role of the states in working towards public health as the right of the citizens”.
According to the bill, all seats will be filled by the Centre and the states will have no role in it, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) pointed out.
“India being a federal state, leaving the role of states in medical education will be disastrous,” it said, demanding that the existing system of admission and selection criteria must continue for the PG seats.
It also demanded that the National Medical Commission (NMC) withdraw the “anti-federal, anti-student, anti-democratic, anti-patient care and anti-public health draft bill”, try to initiate a dialogue with the stakeholders to understand the ground reality and do course correction to ensure uniform standards of education and a uniform pattern of the scale of pay, stipend and facilities provided to the interns, faculties and residents too.
In a statement, the IMA said the original Medical Council of India (MCI) was functioning with democratically-elected state representatives, who always voiced for the collective consciousness of state welfare. However, as the NMC is full of nominated people, it is slowly excluding all state governments from the administration of medical education.
As of date, the broad-specialty post-graduation course admission is carried out through PG-NEET and 50 per cent admission is done under the All-India quota by the DGHS and the remaining 50 per cent seats are admitted by the state governments.
But according to the draft regulation, “There shall be common counselling for admission in all medical educational institutions to all postgraduate broad-specialty courses (Diploma/MD/MS) on the basis of merit list of the National Exit Test and to all postgraduate super-specialty courses (DM/MCh) on the basis of merit list of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test”, the IMA pointed out.
It alleged that the NMC is still in a dilemma and has not given any clarity on the proposed NEXT exam.
“However, this notification says, when a student writes his exam, the mark he scores will be valid for three years and he can rewrite the exam only after three years. This is a great injustice to the students. As it has proposed to conduct the NEXT exams in 2023, the NMC should come out with the pattern and type of examination after having wider democratic consultation with the students’ body, faculty, states and largest professional body IMA,” the statement read.
The IMA in principle welcomed the “district residency”, but said making it for a three-month period will result in overcrowding and impact the work in the medical college departments.
Even for non-clinical postgraduates, spending three months in a district hospital will hamper the continuous theory and practical training, it said and demanded that the duration of the training period in the district hospitals be reduced to a month.
The revised proposals for certain broad-specialty courses to multiple super-specialty options have been drafted without due considerations of the students’ opinion and often changing it like this will create uncertainty and heartburn for the students preparing for the NEET SS exams, the statement said.
“Equally, the move to open up a dual degree in post-graduation and candidates doing simultaneous Ph.D are good to postulate, but in reality, will jeopardise the clinical acumen and involvement of the postgraduates’ inpatient care.
“The NMC, which has been formed with great fanfare and promises, is now running into a non-performing body and playing the role of a silent spectator when the issues of interns, medical students and also the registered doctors are raised. The NMC fails to respond to the death of 1,589 doctors in COVID-19 nor to issues of violence on doctors. However, they want to make inroads of mixopathy and centralising powers at the cost of the states,” the association said.
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