New Delhi: Union Health Minister, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya informed that the government is committed towards bringing a drastic paradigm shift in education in the country. He spoke about the concerted efforts taken by the government to improve the quality of medical education for students.
Speaking to reporters Mandaviya said, “One such initiative is to correct regional imbalances in the availability of affordable and reliable tertiary healthcare, for which Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was launched. The program targets the establishment of AIIMS-like institutions and the upgradation of existing GMCs, by establishing super-speciality blocks, in a phased manner. 22 new AIIMS and projects for the up-gradation of 75 Government medical colleges were taken up under the scheme.”
Informing about the massive change in the medical education sector,he stated, “There is a paradigm shift from input-based to outcome-based approaches and reforms under the Modi government. Consequently, we now have 648 medical colleges in 2022 with a whopping 96 per cent increase in the number of government medical colleges (GMC) alone and a 42 per cent increase in the private sector since 2014. At present, out of 648 medical colleges in the country, 355 are government and 293 are private. MBBS seats have also seen a massive 87 per cent increase from 51,348 in 2014 to 96,077 in 2022. Similarly, PG seats have observed an increase of 105 per cent with 31,185 seats in 2014 to 63,842 in 2022.”
He said that with a vision to create 10,000 MBBS seats in GMC, 58 colleges across 16 States have been approved with an increase of 3,877 MBBS seats. Similarly, to increase PG seats, 72 medical colleges in 21 States/UTs have been approved in phase I, with an increase of 4,058 PG seats. To create 4,000 PG seats in the GMCs, in phase II, a total of 47 colleges have been approved with an increase of 2,975 PG seats.
To ensure fair examinations and selection process, a common entrance test, the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), was introduced in 2016 with a common counselling system. This allowed students from anywhere in India an opportunity to study in any medical college in the country based on merit.
The National Medical Commission (NMC) was also created to replace the Medical Council of India (MCI), to modernize the regulatory regime governing medical education. Besides streamlining all the existing regulations, the conduct of a common exit exam NEXT, prescription of fee guidelines, setting the standards for Community Health Providers (CHP) and rating of medical colleges are being undertaken by NMC. Before the NMC Act, there was no legal mechanism to regulate the fee charged by private colleges. Now the guidelines in respect of fees for 50 per cent seats in all colleges including government, private and deemed Universities have been released by the NMC.
Parallelly, reforms are ongoing in the sectors of nursing education, dental education and allied healthcare professions. A new National Allied and Healthcare Professions Act 2021 has also been enacted. Similarly, on the lines of the NMC, the Dental Council of India and the Indian Nursing Council are also being reformed through new legislation.
“During COVID, we saw that our medical workforce played a crucial role of COVID warriors, but faced several challenges like access to classroom education. In this regard, several steps were taken. DIKSHA platform (one nation, one digital platform) was one of them. It is the nation’s digital infrastructure for providing quality e-content for school education in states/UTs. QR-coded energized textbooks for all grades are available in 35 of the 36 states and UTs have now onboarded the platform and contextualised the content as per the local need,” stated Dr Mandaviya.