The Delhi government is working on a proposal to have its own health university for medical colleges affiliated
to Delhi University (DU) and Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU). Officials said a committee has been formed to frame the Delhi Health University Bill.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain told The Indian Express: “To meet deficiencies in the health sector pertaining to education, we want to have a separate state university. Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) is one of the leading colleges in India, yet its doctors have to visit DU for every single decision. We are hoping to come out with the Bill soon, which will be presented in the Assembly in the next two months.”
Tamil Nadu had set up the first state health university — The Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University — in 1987.
Move could prompt teacher protests
If the new university comes up, it would mean all medical colleges under Delhi University and GGSIP University will come under one roof. The universities, as of now, largely provide administrative support, such as degrees, conducting examinations and recognising posts of professors, apart from signing off on syllabus and courses that medical colleges set. DU is a central university, while GGSIP is a state university. Like it happened when Delhi College of Engineering was taken away from under the DU's wing, opposition from university teachers is expected.
According to Dr A K Aggarwal, former MAMC dean and chairman of the committee: “More than 17 states have their own health universities, and Delhi is still lagging behind… To improve the system, we will need some autonomy. The government has proposed the plan and we, as a technocrat, are working on it. The committee will focus on the way forward, including finalising the bill.”
According to doctors, the move will also open doors for students who cannot apply to other medical colleges due to separate guidelines.
“If a student is studying in MAMC, he/she is not eligible for the same course in other colleges such as PGIMER due to varied eligibility criteria. By bringing them under a common roof, every student will have a fair chance,” said Dr Rajeev Sood, Dean, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER).
Committee member Dr Siddharth Ramji added, “The existing universities will have to agree to de-affiliate these institutions. We will reach out to DU officials soon.”
Official said a common university will also standardise health-related courses. As per the initial plan, the varsity will offer courses for paramedical staff.
The committee will submit the report to health department soon. “We will be sending the report to the department in six-eight weeks. There is a huge gap of allied health workers and with the commencement of these courses, we aim to give more freedom to paramedics, nursing staff and physiotherapists,” said Dr DK Tempe, notified project officer.
The plan has received mixed responses from academicians and health experts. Dr Jagdish Prasad from the Union Health Ministry said, “It is extremely important to have a separate state health university, else the importance of medical science is lost…”
Former DU V-C Dinesh Singh agreed that medical colleges reach out to the university only for approvals: “The association of these institutions with DU is more of a formal attachment. The varsity, in any case, never meddles with their day-to-day affairs. However, DU Executive Council member Rajesh Jha called it a political move and said there is no academic rationale behind the suggestion.
Professor Pravin Chandra, Controller of Examinations, GGSIPU, did not respond to calls and messages seeking a comment.
MAMC; Lady Hardinge Medical College; University College of Medical Sciences and Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute come under the Delhi University. Vardhman Mahavir Medical College— Safdarjung hospital; PGIMER -Dr Ram Manohar Lohia hospital etc come under GGSIPU.