Medical Council of India has been asked to inspect infrastructure at new medical colleges before short-listing them for approval

The Centre has asked the Medical Council of India (MCI) to inspect the infrastructure of new medical colleges by January in order to enable them to overcome the deficiencies, if any, by the time approvals are granted.

In 2012, as many as 88 new medical colleges have applied for permission, of which 29 are government-funded and 59 are private with a majority of these being in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Last year, the inspection was completed only in May, which gave very little time to the medical colleges to overcome shortcomings by June when the final list of colleges was released, P.K. Pradhan, Health and Family Welfare Secretary said. As per the Supreme Court directive, classes are to start in the first week of August.

The Health and Family Welfare Ministry will also discuss the possibility of more examination centres for the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) as requested by some States. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will set up centres in 85 cities — 83 in India and two abroad — for the NEET to be held for the first time in May next year. However, some big States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka want additional centres.

Similarly, Bihar and Assam demanded additional centres for the Post Graduate Entrance Test to be conducted by the National Board of Examination (NBE), which would be an online test, Mr. Pradhan said.

He said that the States which are presently conducting the Pre-Medical Entrance Exam in regional languages would be provided question paper in their regional language. These are English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi and Assamese. “While States will be allowed to pursue their merit lists, regulations and reservations, any relaxation in qualifying criteria can be made if sufficient number of candidates fail to secure the minimum marks prescribed in the NEET,” he explained.

The availability of MBBS seats has gone up by about 37 per cent and the number of PG seats in the country has increased by 73 per cent over the past couple of years.

To further strengthen tertiary health care delivery in the government sector, the Ministry has taken up 19 State-government owned medical colleges for up-gradation under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Surakhsha Yojana. Six institutions have been completed and the remaining is likely to be completed by March-April 2013.

To overcome the shortage of nurses and auxiliary nurse midwives, the Ministry has sanctioned 269 nursing schools with an outlay of Rs. 2,030 crore in the last two years, mostly in remote, inaccessible and under-served districts.

To give a boost to para-medical education and scale up the availability of para-medics, a National Institute of Paramedical Sciences (NIPS) at Delhi and eight regional institutes have been sanctioned.