The Centre has drawn up a plan to upgrade State-run medical colleges and hospitals to increase the number of much needed specialists in the medical field, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Gandhi Selvan said here on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters here, he said at present the ratio of students to specialists is 1:1 in the 148 State-run medical colleges and hospitals in India and it should be increased to 1:2 by introducing PG courses in order to increase the numbers of the specialists.

On the proposal to upgrade select hospitals across India to AIIMS standards, he said eight hospitals, including one each in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have been identified.

Asked whether the ministry would seek enhanced budget allocation for the health sector, he said allocations to the ministry had already crossed Rs.20,000 crore. “If needed, the ministry will demand more.” he said.

He also said the Centre is willing to extend help if States submitted proposals to upgrade or modernise hospitals.

He said swine flu was under control now, including Tamil Nadu, which is faring better compared to other States.

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