The Union Health Ministry has identified medical streams in which it wants to increase the number of seats. The move is aimed at catering to burgeoning demands of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). The streams facing shortage are gynaecology,paediatrics,anaesthesia,general medicine,general surgery,oncology and radiology.
We are looking at the total output in these disciplines of which we are assuming 10 to 15 per cent would either join the private sector or leave the country. On the basis of projected demand for the NRHM and the National Programme for Control of Cancer,Diabetes,Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke,we are ascertaining the total number of additional seats that would be required. We may for this year remove the cap of 200 in government medical colleges and then work towards an increase in seats in all medical colleges for the 2013-14 session, said a senior official of the ministry. In the long term,the ministry hopes that the cap will be 250 for all medical colleges,but the details are being worked out by the programme division.
Though the last date for applying to the Medical Council of India (MCI) for starting new postgraduate courses was over in May 2011,the ministry hopes to be able to increase some seats at least in the government medical colleges for the 2012-13 session. This will be over and above the increase of 7,000 PG seats that have have been initiated by revising the student teacher ratio in postgraduate medical colleges. For the 2012-13 session,the MCI has received applications for 1,200 new PG seats across the country.
The state-wise NRHM progress report circulated internally in September shows that at least one-third of the sanctioned posts of specialists in CHCs remain vacant. While the ministry is hard-pressed for specialists,there is no plan to make entrance examinations easier. We want quantity but not at the cost of quality, the official said.