With the twin objective of improving rural health care and sprucing up medical education, government on Monday said it would relax norms for setting up medical colleges in urban as well as rural areas.
Addressing a seminar at the FICCI, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said as there was tremendous space constraint in urban areas, now the private sector would be allowed to set up medical collages on 10 acres of land instead of the present minimum 24 acres.
"In urban areas, we would look for vertical expansion instead of horizontal expansion," he said.
Azad said that in rural areas, the government was looking at a Public-Private Partnership model wherein the private players would be allowed to set up medical colleges with the district hospitals as the nodal centres.
He said these policy decisions have been taken by the ministry as part of the 100 days programme of the UPA Government.
The government would also provide special incentives to doctors practising in rural and remote areas.
"In hilly and backward areas, we have given a lot of priority and concession to public-private partnerships," he said adding this has been done in order to increase human resource in the health sector.
Azad said the private sector can play a pivotal role in augmenting government health efforts, but on the flip side it can be seen that it has pushed up medical costs and affected the reach of patients in rural as well as urban areas.