Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Centre to partly fund medical colleges in states

For the first time since the 1990s when private players were allowed in the medical education sector, the Union Health Ministry is all set to partially fund medical colleges set up by the states in a bid to attract more doctors to the government sector and to bring down rising medical education costs. Through the scheme, the ministry hopes to be able to steer medical education to states other than known hubs like Karnataka, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Maharashtra.

Under the 12th Five-Year Plan, the ministry has set a target of 50 such medical colleges in the first phase. According to a report of the Planning Commission Working Group on tertiary care institutions for the 12th Five-Year Plan, of the 335 medical colleges recognised by the Medical Council of India, 154 are in the private sector where students pay Rs. 200,000-300,000 per year as fees and are often required to cough up Rs. 5 to 10 million as capitation fees.

“The model we are looking at is that the state provides us with land and we bear 75-85 per cent of the capital expenses. For special category states it would be about 90 per cent. Private medical colleges have made medical education so expensive that doctors have drifted away from government jobs in a bid to recover the costs they had incurred for their education. That did not help the cause of public health. That is why we have decided for the first time to start a scheme to support setting up of new medical colleges in states,” said a senior ministry official. The report also gave a glimpse of the shortage of doctors in the country.

Source: The Indian Express, February 21, 2012

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