Editorial : Billed for change: amendments to the National Medical Council Bill

The Union Cabinet this week approved six out of the dozens of changes to the contentious National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill that were suggested by a Parliamentary Standing Committee earlier this month. These changes address some of the loudest(सशक्त/दिखावा)criticisms(आलोचनाओं) of the Bill. Among them, the final year MBBS exam is now merged with an exit exam for doctors, and a contentious(विवादास्पद) bridge course for AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy) practitioners(चिकित्सकों) has been axed(निकाल दिया गया।/संक्षिप्त करना). Health-care experts had recommended other modifications, which the
Cabinet ignored. For example, despite(के बावजूद/विरोध )the Cabinet’s amendments(संशोधन/सुधार), the NMC, the regulatory body that will replace the Medical Council of India, will be heavily controlled by the government. Its members are to be picked by a search committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary, while the Central government is to be the appellate body for those aggrieved(पीड़ित/असंतुष्ट) by the NMC’s decisions. The parliamentary committee had batted for an independent(आत्मनिर्भर/स्वतंत्र) appellate body. The amendments cleared by the Cabinet also increase State representation in the NMC from three part-time members to six, in what seems like agesture(संकेत/नाटक करना) to please the States. Contrast this with the parliamentary committee’s recommendation to include 10 State representatives, given India’s vastness(विशालता/विस्तार).Another amendment that doesn’t go far enough is the decision to raise the proportion of private college seats for which fees will be regulated from 40% to 50%. The fees for unregulated seats could then skyrocket, pushing poorer medical aspirants out of the system.
Despite these deficiencies(अभाव/कमियों) if passed by Parliament, the legislation will mark a new era for medical education in India. The next step will be to design rules and regulations that capture the intent(प्रयोजन/आशय) of this law. This itself will be a massive(व्यापक/विशाल) challenge. How, for one, will the logistical difficulty of conducting a common final year MBBS examination across the country be overcome? Multiple-choice questions are easy to administer, but testing the range of theoretical(सैद्धांतिक ) knowledge and practical skills expected of medical graduates is more difficult. Throw in the enormous(असाधारण/विशाल) inter-State variations(विविधताओं/तबदीली) in medical education across India, and the challenge is obvious(स्पष्ट/प्रत्यक्ष). Lawmakers will have to tackle this gigantic(विशाल/बड़ा भारी) task in a slow and phased manner. Another concern is that under the new amendments States now have the freedom to implement(लागू/कार्यान्वित करना) an AYUSH bridge course, even if no longer mandatory(अनिवार्य/अधिदेशात्मक). How will the Centre ensure the quality of such courses to prevent(प्रतिबंध करना/निवारण करना) a new set of poorly trained doctors from emerging? The coming days may see many more protests against the NMC Bill, perhaps delaying its passage and prompting further discussion. For a Bill that marks the first major reform in medical education since 1956, such an extended debate is not a bad thing.


Important Vocabulary
1.Criticisms(आलोचनाओं)
Synonyms: assessment, comment, critique, judgment, opinion
Antonyms: heedlessness, neglect, approval, compliment, estimation
2.Contentious(विवादास्पद)
Synonyms: antagonistic, combative, testy, argumentative, belligerent
Antonyms: agreeable
3.Deficiencies(अभाव/कमियों)
Synonyms: dearth, defect, failing, failure, fault
Antonyms: abundance, advantage, enough, excess, perfection
4.Gesture(संकेत/नाटक करना)
Synonyms: action, body language, expression, indication, nod
Antonyms: speech
5.Vastness(विशालता/विस्तार).
Synonyms: expanse, enormousness, greatness, immenseness, hugeness
6.Theoretical(सैद्धांतिक )
Synonyms: abstract, academic, analytical, imaginative, intellectual
Antonyms: concrete, ignorantil, logical, material, objective
7.Gigantic(विशाल/बड़ा भारी)
Synonyms: colossal, enormous, gargantuan, giant, huge
Antonyms: dwarfinsign, ificant, little, miniature, miniscule
8.Aggrieved(पीड़ित/असंतुष्ट)
Synonyms: disturbed, grieving, oppressed, persecuted, wronged
Antonyms: comforted, happy, pleased
9.Obvious(स्पष्ट/प्रत्यक्ष).
Synonyms: accessible, clear, conspicuous, discernible, distinct
Antonyms: ambiguous, concealed, dark, disputable, doubtful

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