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Bengal's dream of producing more doctors may be jeopardised

Bengals dream of producing more doctors may be jeopardised
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Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's dream of increasing the number of doctors in the state-run hospitals may be hit as the Medical Council of India (MCI) has recommended the Centre to scrape some of the existing undergraduate medical seats in eight medical colleges of the state.

After their recent visit to various state-run hospitals to assess infrastructure, a team of senior MCI officials have recommended the Union Health Ministry not to allow these medical colleges to admit candidates in these seats for this academic year citing poor infrastructure. Now, it is up to the Centre if it would allow the state government to admit candidates in those seats that were already recommended for cancellation or not.

Many people in the state are, however, crying foul at the step taken by the highest regulatory body. They find this move politically motivated and also accused the highest regulatory body of being an instrument of the Centre to satisfy its political vendetta.

After coming to power, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had taken a number of initiatives to increase the health infrastructure in the state. She also instructed the state Health department to increase the medical seats to address the dearth of doctors at various hospitals across the state.

Following the Chief Minister's order, the undergraduate seats were increased at various medical colleges but they are still awaiting the Centre's nod. If the Centre cancels these seats, it will also affect the Centre's ambitious plan to produce 80,000 doctors per year in the country. Currently, around 62,000 doctors are produced across the country in a year. Even the state government's effort to meet the crisis of doctors in various hospitals may face some challenges following this move.

The medical colleges have to obtain permission from the MCI to admit the candidates in the permitted seats. Permitted seats are those against which the state government needs to take permission from the Centre every year while for the permanent seats, there is no need to take permission. The MCI has recommended the Centre not to renew permission for these seats as it had found some lapses in the infrastructure of these medical colleges.

It was learnt that the MCI has recommended the Centre not to renew permission for the permitted seats in various medical colleges of the state. As a result of this move, the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) may lose 95 permitted seats this year, while the NRS Medical College and Hospital, Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital (CNMCH), SSKM Hospital may lose around 100, 50, 50 undergraduate medical seats respectively.

Midnapore Medical College and Hospital, North Bengal Medical College and Hospital, Burdwan Medical College and Hospital and Bankura Sammilani Medical College and Hospital will not get permission for admission against 50 seats each too if the recommendation is followed.

The permanent undergraduate seats in CMCH, NRS, CNMCH, SSKM hospitals currently stand at 155, 150, 150 and 100 respectively.
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