In the last three years only 12 persons have registered as visits in Telangana, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a reply in the Rajya Sabha.
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Responding to a question on the number of clinical psychologists and psychiatric nurses asked by Seema Dwivedi, Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh, Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Satya Pal Singh Baghel said that as per the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), there are a total of 3,372 clinical psychologists registered with it (RCI) as of July 2023.
In a State-wise data, while many States had single digit numbers, Telangana has only 12 who registered in the last three years. Psychologists speaking to The Hindu said that the number of persons who are practising is much higher than that and despite that there is still a shortage of psychologists because there are no government sanctioned posts for psychologists. Additionally, the comparatively higher posts and higher salaries offered by certain State governments has resulted in elevated numbers of RCI-registered clinical psychologists in States such as Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Tamil Nadu.
A privately practising clinical psychologist Baijesh Ramesh, revealed that between 2008 and 2010, there were roughly 10 to 15 clinical psychologists operational in Telangana. During this period, the State government sanctioned only one position, which either remained vacant or was occupied by somebody hired on a contract basis. The latest figures available from the RCI website indicate a total of 55 registered clinical psychologists in Telangana, with seven non-active and the remaining 48 actively practising.
To be recognised and permitted to practice after completing an accredited M. Phil program in Clinical Psychology, candidates must obtain registration with the RCI, a status renewable every five years. In this span, practitioners are obliged to participate in continuing rehabilitation education (CRE) activities, accumulating a minimum of 100 points to facilitate renewal. Once the required points are acquired, the renewal process necessitates online application submission.
However, this process mandates candidates to condense all training certificates into a 200 kb PDF format, which has proven cumbersome for many. Further, RCI demands that the same documents be physically dispatched via courier. Many within the field question the need for such a complex procedure.
National Medical Commission norms dictate the presence of at least one clinical psychologist in each medical college. Notably, Telangana is home to 34 medical colleges; however, the scarcity of positions remains evident. Moreover, government-advertised roles offer monthly salaries ranging from ₹20,000 to ₹30,000, a stark contrast to the ₹2 lakh that private practitioners can potentially earn. These factors collectively discourage interest in government sector employment., added another psychologist.