The Centre today approved 4,000 additional post-graduate seats for medical colleges across the country saying another 1,000 will be added by the month-end. These seats will be available for admissions from the 2017-18 session.Of the 4,000 seats, 1,137 have been added across clinical subjects in 71 government medical colleges.

India has 212 government medical colleges with many in the process of completing formalities for PG seat additions.

“This kind of addition to PG seats is an all-time record. With this, the number of PG seats in medical colleges and hospitals across India has gone up to 35,117. By March-end, we will likely add another 1,000 seats as proposals from states are coming,” Union Health Minister JP Nadda said.Additional seats include DNB seats, which are equivalent to MD/MS. “DNB seats increased by 2,147 in the last one year.

With today’s approvals, the Union Budget announcement of adding 5,000 PG medical seats in the country is likely to be achieved soon,” the Minister noted.

Asked how the government managed these additions in such little time, Ministry officials said ground for expansion of human resources in health had been laid in advance. The main impetus came from relaxation of PG teaching norms. “We got the Medical Council of India to relax teacher-student ratio at the PG level.

Previously one professor could guide two PG students. Now he can guide three. Likewise, an associate professor heading a unit could guide one PG student previously and can now guide two,” an official said.The push is expected to address around 80 per cent shortage of specialists in India, besides providing faculty for new hospitals that are coming up. As per MCI norms, a 100 seat medical college requires 58 faculty members at permission stage and 105 at recognition stage.

Relaxation of norms has yielded 1,137 PG seats in clinical subjects in 71 government colleges. The current nationwide strength of PG seats in clinical subjects is just 18,000. “With this strength, we can’t meet the growing teaching and research requirements. PG students tomorrow become faculty. For 100 new medical colleges we have planned over the next five years, 6,000 to 10,000 additional faculty members are needed. That’s why we have to start now,” a source said.

Abysmal ratio:

1:1,700 is country’s doctor-patient ratio against the WHO-mandated 1:1,000

80% shortage of specialists is likely to be addressed by latest push

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