All those who want to pursue a MBBS course in a medical collage in Delhi have some reason to cheer. The Capital will get about 450 more undergraduate medical seats in the next two years.
According to Delhi government's plan, three of its hospitals - Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital (DDU), Ambedkar Hospital and an upcoming hospital in Dwarka, will get a medical college with about 150 seats each.
The five government medical colleges in the Capital - All India Institute of Medical Sciences (Aiims), Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College, University College of Medical Sciences, Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), Lady Hardinge Medical College, put together, offer not more than 750 MBBS seats to close to two lakh students, who take Class 12 Central Board for Secondary Education exam in the medical stream every year.
In Aiims alone, nearly one lakh candidates take the entrance exam every year for the 77 MBBS seats that it offers.
"We have already started work on the project. Identifying land is the most important part of the initiative that already has been taken care of. These three colleges will help relieve the burden to some extent," said Dr AK Walia, state health minister.
The health ministry is in the process of forming a society comprising its officials that will supervise everything, from the construction to the functioning of these colleges.
"We had initially thought of making these colleges autonomous like MAMC's dental college, the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences and the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, but finally decided to form a non-profit society like it happens in some other states," said Dr Walia.
"The society will also be responsible for recruiting staff, which is a primary problem of autonomous bodies," he added.
The DDU Hospital will also have a hostel and a nursing college within the campus.
In this year's budget, Delhi government allocated R1,801 crore to upgrade state's health infrastructure, out of which R167 crore is meant to be spent on building new hospitals.
Areas that are thickly populated, with a significant population belonging to economically weaker section, who are forced to travel long distances for a decent government hospital, have specifically been kept in mind while choosing location for hospitals.
"Delhi may be better than many other states in terms of providing undergraduate medical education, but if we compare the number of students that don't make it to government colleges every year, the scene is pretty grim," said a second year MBBS student of MAMC, who did not wish to be named.
A major chunk of students is left with no choice but to try their luck in other states, and if that also does not work out, taking admission in a private college by paying exorbitant amount as capitation fees remains the only resort.