NEW DELHI: India will now produce 5,000 more specialized doctors every year. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday approved health ministry's proposal to add more postgraduate seats in 148 state government medical colleges.
The Rs 1,350 crore scheme will see a cost sharing ratio of 75:25 between the Centre and states. Though still far short of the numbers needed, the decision is being viewed as a positive step for a country that has a shortfall of six lakh doctors, 10 lakh nurses and two lakh dental surgeons.
Ironically, Indian doctors who have migrated to the developed world form nearly 5% of the medical workforce of their respective countries. Thursday's decision will see more doctors specializing in clinical disciplines like anatomy, microbiology, physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, forensic medicine and community medicine. The country will also have more gynaecologists, paediatricians and general surgeons.
But where will India find teachers to teach these extra students? Ministry officials said they have recently amended the PG regulations wherein the student teacher ratio has been revised from 1:1 to 2:1 to enable medical colleges to increase seats in PG courses.
“The ratio of number of students to postgraduate teachers like a professor in the subjects of broad specialties has been increased to 2:1 in all our 146 government medical colleges from the 2010-11 academic session. This will help create 4,000 additional seats in different PG courses. For super-specialty courses too, the ratio will become 2:1 for both professors and associate professors. This will increase availability of nearly 700 seats,'' he added.
The same rule will apply to private medical colleges from 2011-12, the official added. The teaching experience required for the post of professor/associate professor has also been reduced by one year. At the same time, India is trying to tap into the expertise of Indian doctors settled abroad and wishing to return to the country.
The teaching experience gained by persons of Indian origin in recognized colleges from five countries — the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — is permitted to be taken into account in India, enabling such persons of Indian origin who have settled abroad to return and take up teaching assignments.
“The objective of the scheme approved by the CCEA is to meet the shortage of faculty in clinical disciplines which is a bottleneck for starting new medical colleges,'' the official said.