The aspiring doctors of north India will have a much-improved chance of fulfilling their dream.
This year, the medical colleges of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, and Haryana will add nearly 500 seats under the bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery (MBBS) programme.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) has allowed more admissions, opening new medical colleges in Haryana, and restoring the recognition of the medical colleges in Punjab (biggest gainer in region with at least 250 more MBBS seats).
In the last session, Punjab enrolled 945 MBBS students in nine medical colleges of the state. This year, the MCI has permitted Chintpurni Medical College, Pathankot, to admit 150, and given 50 more seats each to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Faridkot, and Guru Ram Dass Medical College, Amritsar, taking their intake to 100 each.
After the inspection last year, the MCI had not allowed Chintpurni Medical College to admit students, making the state lose 150 seats. "The other medical colleges in the state have 150 seats each, which is sufficient, so we have focused on the colleges that have less seats in spite of good infrastructure," said Dr Shavinder Singh Gill, vice-chancellor of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) to which all medical colleges of Punjab are affiliated.
Sources in the medical sector said the MCI and the government were in communication to open a new medical college in Jalandhar at SGL Charitable Hospital, Garha, the governing trust of which runs a nursing college already and now has applied for opening a medical college with 150 MBBS seats.
Jammu and Kashmir also will get at least 150 more MBBS seats to add to the present 350 in four medical colleges of the state. Sources in the state government said 50 MBBS seats each at Government Medical College, Jammu; Government Medical College, Srinagar; and Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Srinagar, would be increased.
Haryna is going to add 100 more MBBS seats to its 700 in seven medical colleges. The seats will go to newly opened Shaheed Hassan Khan Mewati Government Medical College, Nalhar, Mewat. "The MCI has inspected in the college and we hope to open in this session with 100 students," said college director Dr Sansar Chandra Sharma.
Hope next year for Chandigarh
Government Medical College, Chandigarh, also had applied last year to increase the MBBS seats from 50 to 100. "We don't have much hope in this session but will get 50 more seats definitely in the next (2014-15)," said Dr Atul Sachdev, director-principal of the college.
The previous MCI Act made the opening of new medical colleges difficult. The changes in it made way for 3,595 new MBBS seats in 2012, and this year the government expects to add another 5,000.
Himachal Pradesh is also unlucky not to get any extra seat.
Inputs from Sat Singh in Rohtak, Tarun Upadhyay in Jammu and Bhawani Negi in Shimla
Jammu & Kashmir