New Delhi: There has been an 82-per cent increase in the number of medical colleges in the country, from 387 before 2014 to 704 now, and a 110-per cent increase in the number of MBBS seats, from 51,348 to 1,07,948, in the same period, Parliament was informed on Friday.
In a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said there has also been an increase of 117 per cent in the number of post-graduate (PG) medical seats in the country — from 31,185 before 2014 to 67,802 as of now.
Mandaviya said 101 medical colleges have been approved in the last five years under a centrally-sponsored scheme (CSS) for the “establishment of new medical colleges attached with existing district/referral hospitals”, including one in Assam.
“The government has increased the number of medical colleges and subsequently, increased the MBBS seats,” he said.
“There is an increase of 82 per cent in medical colleges, from 387 before 2014 to 704 as of now. Further, there is an increase of 110 per cent in MBBS seats, from 51,348 before 2014 to 1,07,948 as of now. There is also an increase of 117 per cent in PG seats from 31,185 before 2014 to 67,802 as of now,” Mandaviya said.
The Union health ministry administers the CSS with a preference given to underserved areas and aspirational districts, where there is no government or private medical college, with fund-sharing between the Centre and state governments in the ratio of 90:10 for the northeastern and special category states and 60:40 for the other states.
A total of 157 government medical colleges have been approved under the scheme in three phases, including five in Assam, Mandaviya said.
Some of the measures and steps taken by the government to augment the medical education facilities and improve the medical standards in the country include the CSS for the establishment of new medical colleges by upgrading district/referral hospitals under which 157 new medical colleges have been approved and 107 of those are already functional, he added.
The CSS was implemented for strengthening and upgrading the existing state government or Centre-run medical colleges to increase the number of MBBS (both UG and PG) seats. Support has been provided to add 4,677 MBBS seats in 77 colleges with an approved cost of Rs 5,612.25 crore, 4,058 PG seats in the first phase in 72 colleges with an approved cost of Rs 1,498.43 crore and 3,957 PG seats in the second phase in 62 colleges with an approved cost of Rs 4,461.44 crore.
Under “upgradation of government medical colleges by construction of super-specialty blocks” of the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), a total of 75 projects have been approved, of which 62 are complete, the minister said.
Under the CSS for setting up new all India institute of medical sciences, 22 such institutes have been approved, he added.
Undergraduate courses have started in 19 of those, Mandaviya said.
The National Medical Commission Act, 2019 provides for a medical education system that improves access to quality and affordable medical education and ensures the availability of adequate and high-quality medical professionals in all parts of the country.
The NMC has also taken several steps to improve the quality and affordability of medical education in the country.
The qualification awarded by the Diplomate of National Board (DNB) through the National Board of Examinations (NBE) has been recognised for appointment as faculty members to take care of a shortage of faculty.
There has been an enhancement of the age limit for appointments, extensions and re-employment against the posts of teachers, deans, principals and directors in medical colleges up to 70 years, the minister pointed out.
The teacher-student ratio has been rationalised to increase the number of postgraduate medical seats in the country, he noted.
The norms for setting up medical colleges in terms of requirements of faculty staff, bed strength and other infrastructure have been relaxed, Mandaviya said.
The NMC Act also provides for the framing of guidelines for the determination of fees and all other charges in respect of 50 per cent seats in private medical institutions and deemed-to-be universities, which are governed under the provisions of the Act.
Accordingly, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has framed the guidelines and the same were issued on February 3, 2022, the minister said.