The government wants a medical college in each of India’s 626 districts. This scheme, they hope, will fix the shortage of health personnel in rural areas.
A recent Planning Commission committee report pointed out that due to shortage of public health services, farmers are forced to pay for medical treatment at private hospitals.
Medical graduates from urban areas refuse to go to villages, adding to the shortage.
To counter the problem, the government will announce a scheme to have a medical college linked with every district hospital, when PM Manmohan Singh holds a planning commission meeting to finalise the 12th five-year plan later this month.
According to a senior government official, the scheme — expected to cost the government Rs. 20,000 crore in the next four years — will cut healthcare expenditures of people in rural areas by 50%.
The medical colleges will also be used to train accredited social health activists and anganwadi workers to improve health parameters in the country.
Currently, there are 8.56 lakh doctors in the country, with one doctor for 2,000 people. About 25–30% doctor’s posts are vacant in rural India, but the figure is likely to reach 50% by 2020. The Centre hopes to change that by providing financial support to state governments.