The health ministry has removed the controversial provision of a bridge course, proposed in the National Medical Commission Bill 2017, which allows practitioners of alternative medicines to pursue allopathy, while final drafting several other amendments in the Bill which has been sent it to the Cabinet for approval. The provision of Bridge course is left to the state governments as per the recommendations of the Parliamentary committee. Elaborating about the omission of the bridge course, the official said that Clause 49 (4) has been rephrased as follows, “the state government may implement measures to enhance the capacity of the existing healthcare professionals to address their state-specific primary healthcare issues in the rural areas”. The amended version of the bill is likely to come up in the Cabinet tomorrow,” a senior government official told. Once the amendments are approved by the Cabinet, the bill will be tabled in Parliament.
The health ministry is also learnt to have replaced the provisions of the National Licentiate Examination with a Common Final Year MBBS Exam and the term National Licentiate Examination (NLE) with National Exit Test (NEXT), according to the sources. The ministry has also amended a section to provide for a uniform NEET and counseling at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Stating that the proposed NLE would put “undue stress” on students, a parliamentary standing committee had recommended that the examination be integrated with the final year MBBS examination and be conducted “at the state level”. The ministry, however, has not accepted the recommendation of the panel about the examination being conducted at the state level.