National Exit Test (abbreviated as NEXT) is a proposed Licentiate Medical Examination which will constitute the final year of MBBS Program in India. The purpose of introducing the National Exit Test is claimed to be that as the above is also a licensing exam and is governed by the government the graduates of the above exam will be more sophisticated and knowledgeable doctors. Introduced by The National Medical Commission Bill 2019, NEXT will also serve the purpose of Screening Test for Foreign Medical Graduates who are now required to qualify Medical Council of India Screening Test (Foreign Medical Graduates Examination or FMGE) and will for admission into postgraduate medical courses. In January 2020, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also introduced the draft National Dental commission Bill that also called for National Exit Test after BDS for dentists in India.
The very first amendment to the NMC bill was in February 2018, then again in March 2019. A lot of debates and discussions regarding these came up from medical practitioners and medical aspirants.
On January 7, 2019, The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019 (abbreviated as "National Medical Commission Bill" or "NMC Bill") was introduced in Rajya Sabha by Shripad Yesso Naik, Minister of State for AYUSH.
On July 17, 2019, The Union Cabinet approved the Bill with a purpose to unify all the medical entrance examinations and setting uniform standards for Indian System of Medicine.
Among other reforms, NMC Bill seeks to introduce NEXT in the Indian System of Medicine and replace Medical Council of India with a new authority that will be called National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (abbreviated as National Medical Commission or NMC).
A lack of provision for repeaters and failures of the test was cited as a concern. However, it was clarified that the exam will have no cap on the number of attempts.
New Delhi: National Exit Test (NEXT) Will Become Operational Within Three Years
The National Exit Test or NEXT will become operational on such date, within three years from the date of commencement of the National Medical Commission Act 2019 (NMC), as may be appointed by the Central Government, by notification, the health ministry informed the Parliament last week. According to the Act, a common final year undergraduate medical examination, to be known as the NEXT, will be held for granting licence to practice medicine as medical practitioners and for enrolment in the State Register or the National Register, as the case may be.
The Commission will conduct the NEXT through such designated authority and in such manner as may be specified by regulations.
"The National Exit Test shall become operational on such date, within three years from the date of commencement of this Act, as may be appointed by the Central Government, by notification," the Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan told the Rajya Sabha on February 4, 2020.
Any person with a foreign medical qualification will have to qualify the NEXT for the purpose of obtaining licence to practice medicine as medical practitioner and for enrolment in the State Register or the National Register.
The NEXT will be the basis for admission to the postgraduate broad- speciality medical education in medical institutions which are governed under the provisions of this Act or under any other law for the time being in force and shall be done in such manner as may be specified by regulations, the minister said quoting the rules from the NMC which was passed in August last year.
"The State Government of Tamil Nadu had raised some objections to the National Licentiate Examination during their presentation to the Departmental related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare," the minister said.
"The Standing Committee took cognizance of these observations interalia and after due consideration, recommended in its 109th Report on NMC Bill 2017 that a Common Final Year MBBS Exam may serve as an EXIT test for medical graduates," he added.
The process of setting up the Commission NMC in place of the Medical Council of India for development and regulation of all aspects of medical education, profession and institutions is likely to be over in February this year, Health Ministry sources had told news agency in January.
The NMC Act, which seeks to usher in mega reforms in the medical education sector, received the assent of the president on August 8 and was published the same day.
The Act provides for setting up of an NMC in place of the scam-tainted Medical Council of India.