New Delhi: Over 10,000 doctors staged a protest on Tuesday in the national capital, marching from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to the Parliament House opposing the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill 2017 that seeks to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new body.

Resident doctors from AIIMS-Delhi, Safdarjung Hospital, Post Graduate Institute (PGI)-Chandigarh and Aligarh Muslim University along with several other institutions and senior doctors took part.

The bill proposes allowing practitioners of alternative medicine, such as homoeopathy and ayurveda, to practice allopathy after completing a “bridge course." AIIMS Resident Doctors Association (RDA) has termed the bill as “anti-poor", “anti-people" and “unacceptable" to doctors and medical students in its present form.

During their protests, the doctors had claimed that the proposed legislation would “cripple" the functioning of medical professionals by making them completely answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators. The Bill also proposes a common entrance exam and licentiate (exit) exam which all medical graduates will have to clear to get practising licences.

The RDA has also written to both the health ministry and the parliamentary committee to “remove" these clauses. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) last month alleged that the proposed legislation will be beneficial to the rich and will hurt the poor while presenting its views before a parliamentary panel.

The bill also proposes constitution of four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting undergraduate and postgraduate education, assessment and rating of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under the National Medical Commission. The commission will have a government-nominated chairman and members, and the board members will be selected by a search committee under the cabinet secretary, the Bill says. The medical fraternity is opposing the clause fearing the body would effectively be run by the government.

The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in December last year. Following protests by doctors from across the country, the Bill was referred to a parliamentary select committee.

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