New Delhi: Doctors on Monday began their protest against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2019, outside Nirman Bhawan in the national capital. The protest call was given by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and will conclude at Jantar Mantar. (Also read: Ashwini Chowbey Calls WHO Report on Indian Doctors Erroneous)

IMA has been asking for amendments in the NMC Bill. The IMA National President, Dr Santanu Sen, was quoted as saying that the government will have blood on its hands if section 32 of the NMC Bill 2019 was not removed. He added that the addition of Section 32, that allows for legalisation of quackery by empowering community health providers to practise medicine, will endanger lives.

A report quoted IMA National President-elect Dr Rajan Sharma as saying that if Section 32 is not removed, then 3.5 lakh community health providers will be legalised to prescribe drugs.

There are some other provisions of the Bill that the IMA is protesting against. This includes the coupling of NEXT and NEET and regulation of fee by the NMC for 50% seats in private medical colleges and deemed universities.

This weekend, resident doctors and students at the AIIMS wore black badges to work in a symbolic protest against the NMC Bill which they called “anti-poor”.

Doctors and medical students across the country have been opposing the bill, which was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 22 by Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan.

The association has said the government failed to address concerns raised by it. The bill, if passed in its present form, will ‘legalise quackery by empowering the community health providers to practice medicine, endangering the lives of people,’ it has alleged.

It also alleges that under the new legislation, medical education will become expensive, placing the lower socio-economic groups in great disadvantage.

The bill provides for setting up of a National Medical Commission (NMC) in place of the Medical Council of India (MCI) and repeal of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Resident Doctors Association has also threatened to launch a nationwide indefinite stir in protest against the bill. It has written to President Ram Nath Kovind urging him to advise the Centre to withdraw the “black law”.