National Medical Council bill: To be or not to be, debate continues…


Ludhiana, February 5

The debate over the National Medical Council bill, 2017, continues. While AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) doctors are in favour of introducing the ‘bridge course’, medical practitioners are strictly against this clause.To regulate medical education in India, the Centre passed the National Medical Council Bill, 2017, recently.

One of the clauses under this bill was to introduce a ‘bridge course’ to promote medical pluralism by allowing AYUSH doctors to practice allopathy legally.“This move of the government will not only raise the health standards of the country, but ensure primary healthcare to each and every individual living in any part of the country,” said Dr Inderjeet Rana, national president of AYUSH India (National association of all AYUSH doctors working under the National Health Mission) and state president of NRHM Employees’Association, Punjab.While many doctors’ bodies are up in arms against this decision, some are appreciating it too. National President of AYUSHMAN India (National association of all AYUSH doctors working under the National Health Mission) and state president of NRHM Employees’Association, Punjab, Dr Inderjeet Rana said: “This far-sighted decision of the government will increase the doctor-patient ratio in the country. AYUSH doctors working under NHM are giving their services in those far-flung areas of the country, where basic resources are limited.

These areas are so remote and hard to reach, that most of the modern doctors don’t prefer these for postings.”He said: “We have written to the government to prefer these AYUSH doctors working under the NHM for the bridge course on a priority basis than any other.”Quoting the data of survey done in 2014 by a government agency, Dr Rana said: “A total of 32 per cent population of the country depends on AYUSH and other alternative health systems for their primary healthcare needs. It is a big number and can’t be ignored.”Another member Dr Rakesh Kotwal said: “AYUSH is a recognised and science-based, evidence-based system of medicine. AYUSH doctors study anatomy, physiology and other subjects in their curriculum during their course of study as MBBS doctors do. So, in spite of going in any debate on this NMC bill with pre-occupied brains; being a doctor our first and foremost duty should be freeing our patients from ailments.”

Meanwhile, allopathic doctors are up in arms against the proposal of the government and are not ready to accept AYUSH doctors prescribing allopathic medicines.“We do MBBS and then MD and only then we are able to carry our practise and prescribe medicines. AYUSH doctors will adopt a short cut by doing a course for six months and then prescribe medicines. It is a matter of life and death for some and the seriousness of the issue should not be ignored. It is not possible that one can acquire medical understanding in just six months,” said Dr Avinash Jindal, president of the Indian Medical Association, Ludhiana unit.Another medical practitioner from the city said instead of starting a bridge course, the government should recruit more doctors. Asking AYUSH doctors to prescribe allopathic medicines by doing a bridge course is not a solution, he said.

Homoeopathic docs rallying in Delhi Meanwhile, homoeopathic doctors are holding a rally in Delhi (Feb 5-6) to support the proposed National Medical Council bill that allows doctors from alternate system of medicine to prescribe allopathic medicines after doing a bridge course of six months. The proposed bill also seeks to replace the existing Medical Council of India with a new body. AYUSH practitioners are of the view that allowing the bridge course would improve availability of medical facilities to rural people.


Author: Manav Mander

Tribune News Service



About Author

Dr Abha B.H.M.S is an alumni of Bharati Vidypeeth Deemed University's Homoeopathic Medical College, Pune. She has more than 10 years of clinical experience into practising homeopathy. Currently, she is Editor, The Homoeopathic Heritage and

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