Bihar seeks to upgrade medical colleges, with help from Centre
The Bihar state has proposed to add 950 UG and 490 PG degree seats against the existing 850 UG and 64 PG seats in them, said principal secretary health, Sanjay Kumar.Updated: Jan 04, 2020 09:57 IST
Faced with an acute shortage of doctors in state-run hospitals, the Bihar government has sent a proposal to the Centre to upgrade eight of its nine existing medical colleges and more than double the intake of undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) medical students in them, a senior health official privy to the development said.
The state has proposed to add 950 UG and 490 PG degree seats against the existing 850 UG and 64 PG seats in them, said principal secretary health, Sanjay Kumar.
The state would need to mobilise Rs 1,100 crore to upgrade these medical colleges while the Centre would bear 60% of the estimated expenditure, he said.
Exuding optimism that the Centre would clear the proposal, Kumar said the increase would be done in a staggered manner over the next three to five years.
The medical colleges to be upgraded include the Patna Medical College, Nalanda Medical College (both in Patna), Darbhanga Medical College (Laheriasarai in Darbhanga), Jawahar Lal Medical College (Bhagalpur), Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College (Gaya), Sri Krishna Medical College (Muzaffarpur), Vardhaman Institute of Medical Sciences (Pawapuri in Nalanda district) and the Government Medical College (Bettiah in West Champaran).
“Our idea is to induct 250 undergraduate students every year in six of our old medical colleges and 150 each at the Vardhaman Institute of Medical Sciences, Pawapuri, and the Government Medical College, Bettiah,” said Kumar.
“In addition, we also propose to increase PG degree seats in each of the eight medical colleges,” he said.
Founded in 2013, the Vardhaman Institute of Medical Sciences, Pawapuri, and the Government Medical College, Bettiah, which are the two relatively new medical colleges in the state, do not offer any PG course.
Other older institutions like the Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College offers only two PG degree seats annually, Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College eight, Sri Krishna Medical College 10, Nalanda Medical College and the Darbhanga Medical College 12 each. The Patna Medical College, which is the oldest institution of the state, established in 1925, offers 20 PG degree seats annually.
The state could add only a handful PG seats when the Centre initially made the offer in 2009. Over 10 years later, it now hopes to add 490 PG seats to the existing 64 seats.
This is the first time the state government has taken up a composite proposal, seeking upgrading existing medical colleges and adding more number of UG and PG seats in them.
Barring the Patna Medical College and the Darbhanga Medical College, UG seats have not increased in most state-run medical colleges since their inception.
The Patna Medical College added only 50 UG seats in 2013, taking its annual intake of MBBS students to 150 seats, while the Darbhanga Medical College added 10 UG seats in the same year, to takes its annual intake up to 100 seats.
“Upgrading existing medical colleges is a more cost-effective proposition than setting up new medical college. As greenfield projects, two medical colleges, with 200 UG, will cost the state Rs 1,100 crore. For the same money, we can upgrade eight existing medical colleges,” said Kumar.
The proposed increase in medical seats would help the state tide over the acute scarcity of doctors. Bihar faces over 70% shortage of doctors in government sector.
As per figures available with the health department, there were only 3,600 (approx.) regular medical officers (MBBS degree holders) against a sanctioned strength of 11,624 in the state.
Similarly, in medical education, there were only 2,000 (approx.) faculty members (in the rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, senior resident and tutor) against a sanctioned strength of 4,700 (approx.).