There is good news for medical graduates in the country as the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of the ministry of health and family welfare for continuing the Centrally-sponsored scheme for upgrading state government medical colleges so that there is an increase in postgraduate seats in the country.
The continuation of the scheme at a total cost of Rs. 1,350 crore will result in an increase of about 4,000 seats, with proposed Central assistance share of Rs. 1,124 crore and state/UT share of Rs. 226 crore. The funding pattern will be 75:25 by Central and state governments. Out of Rs. 1,124 crore, an amount of about Rs. 686 crore has already been released to 72 government medical colleges. This scheme was launched during the 11th Plan in the year 2009-10. MBBS doctors apply for postgraduate courses in surgical specialities, MS or MD and DNB, which is a highly-qualified postgraduate qualification and super specialisation.
According to medical experts, currently, there are only about 12,000 PG seats in clinical disciplines. In comparison, there are about 19,000 undergraduate seats and about 32,000 PG and fellowship seats in the US.
According to Dr Navneet Motreja of Save the Doctors campaign, that has been pushing for an increase in the number of PG medical seats, “Lakhs of MBBS graduates all over the country spend many years attempting a multitude of entrance exams to become specialists. This move is welcome but it is not a sufficient increase though. With the severely skewed doctor patient ratio in our country, steps like these will ensure better healthcare for all.” With a pass rate of 80% to 90%, nearly 40,000 doctors graduate every year and compete for 12,000 seats with their batchmates and over a lakh seniors. In the PG entrance exam under NEET in 2013, more than one lakh doctors appeared for the test to claim one of the 12,000 seats, adds Motreja.
Dr Manish Chandra Prabhakar, president, Indian Medical Students’ Association, says, “It is a good move but first of all we have to see how much time it will take to increase all the seats. However, more seats should be increased in government colleges with the ratio being 75:25 in government-private colleges.”