The Centre’s ambitious plan to ensure one doctor for every thousand population throughout the country by the end of 2031 may suffer a major jolt as the number of doctors passing every year across the country is too low to meet the huge requirements of physicians.
Despite shortage of doctors in the country, there was a lackadaisical attitude of the Medical Council of India (MCI’s) highest regulating body in giving permission to open new medical colleges in various states especially in the areas where there are no medical colleges.
What is more shocking here is that the Union health ministry had received number of complaints of corruption against the MCI. It had also been alleged that in some cases the highest regulating body had favoured some private medical colleges going against the basic principles of medical ethics.
The Centre had taken up a health policy under ‘Vision-2015’ to achieve doctor population ratio 1:1000 by the year 2031 for which the country requires more than 80,000 medical seats per year. With this aim, during the last 3 years, 10,000 new seats were created.
At present there are 381 medical colleges in India with 49,918 seats for MBBS degree are registered with the MCI. Postgraduate seats in the country are 22,850.
It was learnt that in last few years more than 100 applications for setting up new medical colleges were submitted to the MCI but the number of hospitals that were cleared was too low. In many cases the MCI recommended the central government to disapprove the seats.
Corruption within the MCI appears to be a factor detrimental to achieve goal. After going through the complaints against the MCI, the Parliamentary standing committee on health and family welfare came heavily on the MCI for the corruption charges which were brought against the highest regulating body from various quarters.
The parliamentary committee was shocked to find a rampant corruption in the country’s medical education regulator.
A top official in the MCI in a report to the health related standing committee admitted that there was corruption at the time of sanctioning of medical colleges or increasing and decreasing seats.
The standing committee also came to know that private medical colleges arrange ghost faculties and patients during MCI inspections but no action was taken.
Whereas in case of government medical colleges, the MCI becomes proactive and take action even on flimsy grounds but in reality the government owned medical colleges perform better than private medical colleges, the parliamentary standing committee observed.
The committee also pulled up MCI for saying that it cannot take action against the tainted officials as the Indian Medical Council Act, 1995 does not allow this.
Every year after visiting various medical colleges in the country, the MCI recommends the Centre not to give permission to admit candidates in certain number of medical seats.
Lack of infrastructure is the main reason for such a recommendation.
Every year the MCI slashes medical seats from various medical colleges across the country and West Bengal is no exception.
Few days ago, the MCI also threatened to slash many medical seats from various medical colleges in West Bengal in the pretext of not having proper infrastructure.
Experts in the field suggested that the Union Health Ministry must give permission for setting up new medical colleges in all the states and also increase the medical seats if it wants to meet the target, not compromising the quality of medical education.
In the soup
- Despite shortage of doctors in the country, there was a lackadaisical attitude of the MCI’s highest regulating body in giving permission to open new medical colleges in various states
- The Union Health Ministry had received number of complaints of corruption against the MCI
- After going through the complaints against the MCI, the Parliamentary standing committee on health and family welfare came heavily on the MCI for the corruption charges which were brought against the highest regulating body from various quarters