Nationwide protest against National Medical Commission Bill tomorrow

New Delhi: Doctors affiliated to the Indian Medical Association will hold a nationwide protest tomorrow against the government’s proposal to dissolve the MCI and replace it with National Medical Commission (NMC), with the IMA dubbing the move “undemocratic”.

Addressing a press conference today, IMA National President Dr SS Agarwal and National President (Elect) Dr KK Aggarwal said over 500 dharnas will be organised across the country. The protest in Delhi will be held at Jantar Mantar.

IMA said it was against the recently proposed National Medical Commission Bill that seeks the dissolution of the Medical Council of India, “a move that is undemocratic in nature.”

“It will cripple the functioning of the medical profession by making it completely answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators.

“IMA believes that instead, the government must consider introducing amendments to the existing MCI Act to make it transparent, accountable, robust and self-sufficient,” the IMA said in a statement.

The umbrella association represents over 2.7 lakh doctors in 686 districts of the country, spread across 30 states and 1,765 local branches.

“IMA has been fighting for its six major demands for over two years. The proposed dharna in 2015 was postponed on the assurance given by Heath Minister J P Nadda that these demands will be considered and approved within six weeks.”

“It has been over a year, and they remain unresolved. So, we will be organising a nationwide peaceful protest to demand answers for them,” KK Aggarwal said.

IMA has strongly opposed the proposed National Medical Commission Bill 2016, citing concern that the NMC will have non-elected members nominated by the government.

Mr Aggarwal, also Secretary General of the IMA, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard.

“The proposed National Medical Commission 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,” the letter says.

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.