In a major blow to MBBS aspirants, the Union Health Ministry banned 82 medical colleges from accepting students for its academic session 2018-19.
The ministry, through an announcement on May 31, stopped 12 government and 70 private medical colleges from taking in new students for the upcoming batch, blocking anywhere between 10,000 to 12,000 MBBS seats. The government also denied permission for the establishment of 68 new medical colleges, 31 government and 37 private, axing another potential 9000 MBBS seats.
Apart from this, it also barred 31 medical colleges from either starting new super specialty courses such as those in cardiology, nephrology, plastic surgery, etc. or expanding seats in existing courses. The list included reputed government colleges such as Lucknow's King George Medical College University, stopped from expanding or starting MCh (Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery) and MCh (Neurosurgery), Christian Medical College Vellore, disallowed courses in MCh (Reproductive Medicine& Surgery), DM (Nephrology), DM (Pediatrics Neurology), Institute of Liver & Billiary Sciences, New Delhi, disallowed DM (Hepatology), MCh (HPB Surgery) and DM (Pediatrics Hepatology), etc.
The decisions came after assessment by the Medical Council of India, the apex government body in charge of medical education and ethics. The loss of seats will further tilt the already skewed student-seat ratio in medical courses. This year, around 13 lakh students had appeared for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), of which over 7 lakh qualified, while there are only around 60,000 MBBS and BDS seats in the country.
The Union cabinet had in February approved plans to set up 24 new government-funded medical colleges by 2021-22, in addition to 58 medical colleges that were to be established and attached to district hospitals by 2019.