The Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has invited Union Health Minister J P Nadda for an open debate on the proposed National Medical Council (NMC)Bill, 2017, that seeks to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new body.

Contending that the new Bill is “anti-people and anti-poor,” the RDA said we want discussion on it before it is approved by Parliament.

“Doctors’ fraternity is frightened from the day you (Nadda) introduced the NMC Bill in Parliament… This Bill is anti-people, anti-poor and puts medical education into the hands of the rich and powerful,” said RDA president Harjit Singh Bhatti, in a letter issued to Nadda.

The letter said, “Issues like nomination of majority of members of NMC by bureaucrats and politicians, full control of corporate sector to decide fees of more than 60 per cent of seats, national licentiate exam (NLE), no provision of grievances redressal for student, fate of NBE and bridge course registration among others ~ are serious enough to distort the future of medical education in the country.”

In the letter, dated 15 January, the RDA invited Nadda for an open debate on these issues. It has sought an appointment with the minister.

Ever since the NMC Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha in late December, there have been protests in the medical fraternity, including the Indian Medical Association (IMA). The IMA had also called for a 12-hour shutdown of private hospitals across the country last year in protest against the Bill.

The Bill also has provisions for granting permission to doctors under Indian systems of medicine, including Ayurveda, to be allowed to practice modern medicine after clearing a bridge course.