New Delhi: A shocking disclosure has surfaced regarding the status of MBBS seats in the country at present. As per a recent report by IANS, an RTI has revealed that in the last five years, only 920 MBBS seats have been added in the Government Medical Colleges (GMCs) against the approved 10,000 MBBS seats.
The RTI was filed by one concerned Chandra Shekhar Gaur, a resident of Madhya Pradesh (MP).
According to the RTI, the government has approved a total of 36 medical colleges for adding 2,615 MBBS seats in 12 states including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, MP, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Manipur and Karnataka. It also released Rs 685 crore in 2015-18 for these 12 states for increasing the number of MBBS seats.
Mentioned below are the numbers of MBBS seats added as well as approved by the government in the abovementioned 12 states:
- Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan: Only 50 new seats each have been added against the approved 150 and 350 seats, respectively.
- Karnataka: 350 seats have been created against the approved 550.
- In states like Jharkhand, MP, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Manipur not a single seat has been added. 450 seats were to be created in MP. But even after sanction of Rs 108 crore in three years for the four government-run medical colleges, not a single seat has been added.
- Tamil Nadu: Over Rs 82 crore has been released by the Centre to add 345 seats. But the seat count remains the same.
- Odisha (200 seats), Gujarat (170 seats) and Punjab (100 seats) have upgraded their medical colleges and increased the requisite number of MBBS seats.
In total, according to the status revealed in the RTI response, only 920 MBBS seats have been added in the GMCs against the approved 10,000.
However, in December last year; during a question hour in Lok Sabha, Shri Ashwani Kumar Choubey, the Minister of State at the Ministry of Health and family welfare had claimed otherwise. He had stated that a total of 18 new medical colleges have been established in the last five years and the MBBS intake capacity has been increased by 18635 seats during the same period.
Speaking to IANS about the exposé, the RTI activist said, “I had filed the RTI in March 2018 and got the response this month. It was necessary to know the status of medical seats in the country. The government keeps on coming up with new schemes, but how many are implemented? My attempt through the RTI was to expose this.”
When contacted over the issue as to why no MBBS seats have been added in MP, State Commissioner of Medical Education, S S Shukla told TOI that the faculty-related requirements are already complete and infrastructure-related works are underway in the medical colleges. “We have requested the union government for inspecting the facilities available for increasing the seats this year. If our request is considered, then the 450 seats could increase from this year itself,” said Shukla.
“If works would have been completed on time like other states, then at least 1,200 students would have got the opportunity of studying in the government-run medical colleges in the past three years. This clearly reflects the apathy of the officials of concerning department towards the students,” RTI activist Gaur told TOI.
“However, the government should take the up-gradation works of the medical colleges on top priority, as on one side it provides opportunities to the students, it will also help in tackling the issue of scarcity of doctors in the state,” he added.
Gaur also noted since the doctor-patient ratio is poor in India and private medical colleges are expensive, the government should focus on increasing MBBS seats in the government-run medical colleges, adds IANS.
In the year 2014, a cabinet committee of the UPA government had approved the proposal made by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare proposal relating to the Centre-sponsored scheme for up-gradation of GMCs and increasing the number of MBBS seats.
It was also announced that Rs 10,000 crore would be invested for increasing the MBBS seats. Of this, the Centre was to contribute Rs 7,500 crore and states/UTs Rs 2,500 crore. According to the cabinet committee in 2014, the creation of one MBBS seat costs around Rs 1.20 crore.
Again in the year 2018, the cabinet approved the proposal for adding 10,000 Under-Graduate (UG) seats by 2020-21 and 8,058 Post-Graduate (PG) seats — 4,058 in the first phase by 2018-19 and 4,000 in the second phase by 2020-21.