The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave the nod to the new facilities on Wednesday, offering both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. It comes as part of a five-year-long government push to create new medical seats and expand the healthcare workforce. The setting up of new medical colleges is expected to add 17,500 seats for Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degrees. An investment of Rs 24,375 crore will fund their establishment, which will service areas with limited access to healthcare facilities.
The 75 new medical colleges will be attached to district or referral hospitals and are expected to be established by the 2021-22 period. “In the last five years, we have added 45,000 MBBS and PG seats. Till day, there have been 82 colleges added in this time period,” said Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar. This, he said, “is the biggest ever expansion of medical education facilities throughout the world.”
The approval of the 75 new medical colleges marks the third phase of the government’s initiative to create more facilities, having earlier approved 58 medical colleges in the first phase and 24 in the second. Of these, 57 have commenced operations. Medical colleges featured significantly as part of the BJP’s health agenda during this year’s Lok Sabha elections. Its manifesto pledged to create one medical college or postgraduate medical college for every district by 2024.
Javadekar said the news would be a boon to medical students and patients alike. “This is one major decision which will benefit thousands of students everywhere every year,” he said. “Ultimately the poor and rural population will benefit because it will create more facilities in the rural regions and alleviate the adverse patient to doctor ratio.”
“The establishment of new medical colleges attached with existing district/referral hospitals, would lead to an increase in the availability of qualified health professionals, improve tertiary care in the government sector, utilise existing infrastructure of districts hospitals and promote affordable medical education in the country,” an official government statement read.