Azad raises stink in RS over cut in MBBS seats

Azad raises stink in RS over cut in MBBS seats

Says doctors' shortage will worsen if not remedied

Azad raises stink in RS over cut in MBBS seats

With the Medical Council of India (MCI) cutting down by 32 per cent the number of MBBS seats in medical colleges across the country in order to maintain quality of education, former Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad raised a stink in Parliament on Tuesday.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha demanded that the government should look into the matter, describing the MCI’s move as very serious as the country was already facing a shortage of doctors. A drastic cut in MBBS seats would worsen the situation, he said.

The MCI has withdrawn permission for 15,890 seats out of the 49,950 MBBS seats in many medical colleges across the country as they were found lacking in minimum infrastructure and the capacity required to educate and train that many future doctors.

The Council, however, has left room open for reconsidering its decision on a case-to-case basis, provided the medical colleges concerned prove that they have the capacity to provide proper education and training to additional students.

It has set June 15 deadline for receiving action taken reports from the medical colleges concerned. Medical colleges in Andhra Pradesh suffered a cut of 2,100 seats, followed by Maharashtra 1,675, Karnataka 1,650, Tamil Nadu 1,450, Uttar Pradesh 1,400 and West Bengal 1,200 seats.

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had proposed to sanction an additional 15,800 MBBS seats with the availability of doctors being a dismal 0.5 for every 1,000 persons in the country.

A high-level expert group in its report to the Planning Commission had recommended setting up of an additional 187 medical colleges in under-served districts during the 12th and 13th five year plans.

Following this, the UPA government approved a centrally sponsored scheme to upgrade 58 district hospitals into medical colleges and increase undergraduate and postgraduate intake in government medical colleges.

To facilitate the setting up of more medical colleges, it also amended the regulations for teacher-student ratio, land requirement, bed strength, bed occupancy and maximum admission capacity.

In its vision document for 2031, the MCI had suggested in 2011 that there was need to add 10,000 MBBS seats in medical colleges every year.