Data | NEET may deepen shortage of rural specialists in TN

M. Periasamy Periasamy M  

The profile of students admitted to the MBBS degree in Tamil Nadu has changed drastically since the NEET began to be conducted. Before NEET, a relatively higher share of entrants hailed from the rural areas. They had been educated in Tamil medium schools in the State Board syllabus. Post NEET, the share of these students plummeted. More students from English medium schools located in urban areas and following the CBSE syllabus were admitted for the course. This change in the profile of students could lead to a further shortage of doctors and specialists in rural areas.

Profile change

A comparison of the profile of MBBS entrants in TN medical colleges in two select years — one before and another after the implementation of NEET. The figures are from the Justice A. K. Rajan committee report on NEET:

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Poorer rural manpower

The table lists the % of doctor vacancies compared to the sanctioned posts and the % of shortfall of specialists as compared to the required numbers under IPHS** norms across rural and urban areas for 2019-20.


24% posts for doctors at PHCs in rural India are vacant.*

68%  posts for surgeons at CHCs in rural India are vacant.

56% posts for obstetricians & gynaecologists at CHCs in rural India are vacant.

63% posts for paediatrician at CHCs in rural India are vacant.

60% posts for anaesthetists at CHCs in rural India are vacant.

71% posts for eye surgeons at CHCs in rural India are vacant.

Divided health outcomes

India’s health indicators show a wide gulf between urban and rural areas. The following figures are from NFHS-4 (2015-16).


Last word

1. Vacancies in posts for rural doctors were significantly lower in the southern States. However, rural vacancies were relatively higher than in urban areas.

2. The shortage of specialists in rural areas was higher compared to urban areas in most States. In Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, more than 90% of the shortage exists in posts for. specialists

3. Vacant posts for doctors were relatively few in urban areas. While vacancies for specialist doctors were significant, they were still much lower than in rural areas in most States.

Notes | *Based on 2019-20 data; **Indian Public Health Standards are a set of uniform standards envisaged to improve the quality of health care delivery in India; ^Surgeons, OB&GY, physicians & paediatricians

Source: Justice A. K. Rajan committee report on NEET, NFHS, Rural health statistics

Also read: Rajan panel wants deemed varsities under government’s purview


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