MCI to conduct the common entrance test for MBBS courses from 2012. The Chief Minister said the issue of National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to MBBS courses had been discussed in the Cabinet and there were fears that the Karnataka's students would be put in a disadvantageous position if the State opted for it now.

Karnataka Government will seek two years' time for opting for the all-India common entrance test to be conducted by the Medical Council of India (MCI) for admission to MBBS courses.

This was disclosed by Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda after inaugurating the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) facility at K.R. Hospital, attached to the Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMCRI), in the city on Sunday.

MCI has announced that it will conduct the test from 2012.

The Chief Minister said the issue of National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to MBBS courses had been discussed in the Cabinet and there were fears that the Karnataka's students would be put in a disadvantageous position if the State opted for it now in view of the difference in the syllabus followed here.

Mr. Gowda said he would visit New Delhi on Monday and apprise the Union Government that Karnataka needed two years to revise the course content and equalise the syllabus standards before opting for NEET.

“After two years, Karnataka will be in a position to opt for the common entrance test,” he said.

Priority areas identified

Reiterating the Government's commitment for comprehensive development of the State, the Chief Minister said priority areas had been identified and public health would receive the highest attention. He said development initiatives of the Government alone were not enough for fostering progress and hence public private partnership (PPP) model was being encouraged. “We have identified health, education and infrastructure as the critical areas under PPP model.” There were 105 projects coming up under the PPP model in the State, he added.

Mr. Gowda said a proposal for setting up a second Jayadeva Cardiology Unit for K.R. Hospital would be approved and infrastructure of the K.R. Hospital and its allied clinics ramped up. The allocation of funds for medical colleges and hospitals in the State had increased over the years and Rs. 826 crore had been sanctioned during 2011-12, Mr. Gowda said.

Master plan

Minister for Medical Education S.A. Ramdas announced that a Rs. 1,000-crore master plan had been prepared for development and upgrading of 10 medical colleges and hospitals in the State.

Three rounds of discussions had taken place for the upgrading these institutions as centres of excellence and the State Government had agreed to provide 25 per cent of the project cost. The remainder would be provided by the Union Government.

A digital library that would remain open round the clock on all days would be inaugurated at MMCRI.

The Government would set up stores in all government hospitals to sell generic drugs at less than 50 per cent of the MRP, the Minister said, and added that the move was aimed at making medicines affordable to the common man. Generic drug stores would be set up in hospitals in two months, starting from Mysore, he added.

Mr. Ramdas said MMCRI should educate people on prevention of diseases.

AICTE pay scale

The Minister announced that a Government Order had been issued sanctioning AICTE pay scale for government doctors.

Elected representatives and MMCRI Dean Geetha Avadhani were among those present.

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