Govt to relax norms for medical colleges

Announcement expected within a few days

A formal announcement on the proposed relaxation is expected within a few days, health ministry sources told Deccan Herald.

To set up a new medical college – which should always accompanied by a hospital – the project proponents are required to acquire 24 acres of land before approaching the Medical Council of India seeking approval for the college.

According to Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, the land ceiling would be brought down to 10 acres due to shortage of land in most of the cities.

Azad has plans for the rural areas as well. The ministry will shortly come out with a list of “difficult”, “hilly” and “most difficult” areas that are typically far-flung areas.
As many as 22 states have submitted a list of areas coming under these categories to the Ministry of Health. But the list as well as the criterion to classify an area under a specific category have not yet been made public.

In “difficult” areas Azad will allow the private sector to set up medical colleges using existing hospitals under the district administration. These colleges will be created through a public-private partnership.

According to the MCI guidelines, no new medical college can be set up without an associated hospital.

To take care of the MCI norms, the new proposal envisions a synergy between the private sector and government hospitals under the chief medical officer of a district.

None of the proposals, a ministry official confirmed, requires approval from the Cabinet for implementation. The health minister has administrative powers to realise these plans. However, there are questions on the availability of faculty, quality of medical education, admission criterion and whether the joint entrance examination system is capable of handling  additional student burden if the number of medical colleges increases manifold.
According to the MCI 2007-08 annual reports, there are 205 recognised medical colleges in India whereas 65 colleges were being given the green signal on a yearly basis to admit students.

Admitting that Indian medical data is of poor quality, Azad said new software would soon be introduced for accurately enumerating immunisation data. The new software will be put into operation first in the polio programme and will be expanded to other immunisation campaigns later.


Prescriptions

* Project proponents are required to acquire 24 acres of land before approaching the MCI seeking approval for the college
* Land ceiling would be brought down to 10 acres due to shortage of land in cities
* Health ministry to come out with a list of “difficult”, “hilly” and “most difficult” areas
* As many as 22 states have submitted a list of areas coming under these categories to the Health ministry
* In “difficult” areas government to allow the private sector to set up colleges using existing hospitals under the district administration
* No new medical college can be set up without an associated hospital

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