The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Thursday approved a proposal for strengthening and upgrading government medical colleges to increase the number of postgraduate seats and starting new postgraduate disciplines, with Central government funding, during the XIth Plan period.

This means 5,000 postgraduate seats will be added annually to 148 government medical colleges with a Central funding to the tune of Rs. 1,350 crore.

The funding will be done by way of a one-time grant under a new centrally-sponsored scheme with a funding pattern of 75 per cent by the Centre and 25 per cent by the States.

The funds would be released only if the States committed themselves to bearing the recurring expenditure for maintaining the facilities created under the scheme after the Plan period, a spokesperson said after a Cabinet meeting.

Direct disbursement

The funds would be disbursed directly to the head of the institute in two instalments. The State governments would undertake to refund the grant, if the number of seats was not increased and the new disciplines were not started within the prescribed period.

The quantum of funding will be decided by an Empowered Committee, constituted under the chairmanship of the Union Health and Family Welfare Secretary.

Additional seats

The additional seats will be in pre- and para-clinical disciplines such as anatomy, microbiology, physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, forensic medicine and community medicine and such clinical disciplines as obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, anaesthesiology, general medicine and general surgery.

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