The number of postgraduate seats in various medical colleges in the country is expected to go up by 3,845 in the academic year 2010-2011, beginning in September 2010.

This was stated by Union Minister for Law and Justice M. Veerappa Moily while he was delivering the convocation address at the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) here on Monday.

Rationalisation of the teacher-student ratio alone from 1:1 to 1:2 would result in the creation of an additional 2,800 PG seats in various medical colleges. This had been coupled with other initiatives taken by the Government with a view to increase the number of postgraduate medical seats. The total postgraduate seats in the country is estimated to be around 13,500.

Besides, Mr. Moily said, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had introduced a centrally sponsored scheme for strengthening and upgrading the State Government-run medical colleges under which financial assistance was provided for upgrading the facilities for starting PG courses, increase in number of PG seats and starting PG courses in new disciplines.

Funds allocated

He said a Plan provision of Rs. 1,350 crore had been made for the purpose. “It is expected that approximately 4,000 more postgraduate seats would be available with the implementation of the scheme, taking the availability of postgraduate medical seats to about 23,000 over a period of 2 or 3 years,” he said.

Mr. Moily said India produced 34,000 MBBS graduates and 13,500 postgraduates every year. But, in comparison, only 1,000 superspecialists came out of medical colleges every year. The revision in the teacher-student ratio would address the shortage of specialists, he added.

To obtain the expertise of Indian doctors settled abroad, Mr. Moily said the Medical Council of India had amended its schedule to recognise the teaching experience and qualification of persons of Indian origin in five English-speaking countries such as the U.K., the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. “This would enable such persons of Indian origin, who have settled abroad, to return to India and take up teaching assignments,” he said.

Shortage of manpower

Pointing out that India faced shortage of qualified health workers, the Union Law Minister said that an analysis based on 2001 Census indicated that the estimated density of all health workers in India, including qualified as well as unqualified, was about 20 per cent less than the WHO norm of 2.5 workers (doctors, nurses and midwives) for a population of 1,000.

Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, who is the Chancellor of RGUHS, presided over the convocation and awarded degrees to 31,982 candidates.

Earlier, Vice-Chancellor of RGUHS Ramananda Shetty presented a brief report of the university.

He said the RGUHS was thinking of a move to introduce online evaluation system on par with Cambridge University to not only speed up the evaluation process, but also it would be more transparent.