Union Minister of State for Road Transport, Highways and Civil Aviation, V. K. Singh, on Friday said that the Union government has aimed to have at least one medical college in each district of the country, to bring in more students into medical education.
Delivering the convocation address at the 38th annual convocation of the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), Mr. Singh said such medical colleges would be affiliated to the district government headquarters hospitals to provide practical sessions for students. “Once students graduate from their educational institutions, they are going out of their comfort zone to the wild world, where they have to face many challenges. Book knowledge, coupled with a practical approach, will help them to tackle hurdles in the outside world,” he said.
Highlighting the economic growth of the country after the COVID-19 pandemic, the Union Minister said that unlike other countries, India’s economy is growing at a rate of 6.5 per cent, which is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. This has been reflected in the foreign investments received by the country, as 162 countries have invested in 62 different sectors in the country so far, he said.
‘Increase funds for higher education’
In his presidential address, G. Viswanathan, founder-chancellor, VIT (Vellore), said that the Union government should increase the allocation of funds for higher education from the existing 3% of the GDP to 6% to bring more rural students into higher studies, including medical education. For example, around 20 lakh aspirants in the country appear for NEET examinations every year. However, only one lakh medical seats are available in around 700 medical colleges in the country, he said. “The Union government should immediately increase medical seats to at least 3-4 lakh to narrow the gap of seat availability and the number of aspirants,” he said.
Further, Mr. Viswanathan said that the Union government should support private educational institutions to set up medical colleges because, on an average, around ₹700-1,000 crore was required to start a medical college. Due to huge costs and inadequate seats, many Indian medical students were studying in foreign countries like the Philippines (25,000 students) and Ukraine (18,000 students). “Except Pakistan, our students enroll themselves in any country for medical education. That situation should change,” he said.
Vice-Chancellor Rambabu Kodali said that 8,619 students were awarded degrees including 6,238 undergraduates , 278 research graduates and 65 gold medalists.
Sanjeev Jain, Global Head, Wipro Ltd (Business Operations), Sankar Viswanathan and G.V. Selvam, vice- presidents of VIT, also participated.