In a respite to students wishing to pursue post graduate medical courses, the ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) has made changes to regulations of the Medical Council of India (MCI) to increase the number of seats in these courses.
Sube Singh, deputy secretary of MoHFW, filed an affidavit in the Bombay high court recently stating the same.
According to Singh’s affidavit, the amendment in the MCI regulations has increased the intake capacity at PG level from 150 to 200.
It states: “Teacher-student ratio has been relaxed to increase the seats at PG level.” It further says that the requirements for land, faculty, staff, bed strength and other infrastructure have been relaxed.
The central government has initiated a scheme called “Strengthening and Upgradation of State Government Medical Colleges” under which it will be providing financial support to state medical colleges to increase seats in PG courses.
Also, the age limit for appointment of faculty has been increased from 65 to 70 years.
Singh’s affidavit was filed in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in 2008 by People’s Health Organisation (PHO), an NGO, claiming that the number of medical seats in government colleges has dropped by 80%.
The PIL demanded the restoration of the original number of seats by the government.
The PIL had contended that there has been a sharp reduction of PG medical seats after 2001, when the teacher-student ratio was arbitrarily halved from 1:2 to 1:1.
It said that since 2003, only 50% of total seats go to All-India pool.
The remaining 50 per cent are allocated for constitutional reservations.
Maharashtra is the only state to introduce a clause of “Earmarking in constitutional reservations,” where the reserved category candidates on the merit list are given seats from the open category, which takes away another 20% of the open category seats, leaving 30% of the state quota or 15% of total seats.