MUMBAI: There is hope in sight for students battling for ‘half a seat’ in medical colleges or emigrating to Russia to pursue a post-graduation. The Medical Council of India has given the green signal for additional PG medical seats across various states in the upcoming academic year — an approximate 2,000 seats in all, with Tamil Nadu showing the largest swell, followed by Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
At present, in some streams like MD (anaesthesia), a seat for the general category student in some Maharashtra colleges is available once in two years — in other words, it is literally “half a seat every year” for these student-doctors.
MCI member Ved Prakash Mishra told TOI that the regulatory body had received applications from 45 medical colleges across 12 states. “By March-end, seats in post-graduate medical education will go up by 2,000,” he added.
Incidentally, MCI is undertaking this expansion without any inspection — it is based on the new formula that allows every college to get two PG seats for every professor it has. Earlier, the MCI allowed only one seat per professor; that is, the student-faculty ratio stood at 1:1.
Maharashtra could just be the loser in this expansion spree. Both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had in the recent past invested hugely in not only setting up new public medical colleges, but also in attracting senior faculty members by offering them competitive compensation packages and permission to practise privately. But Maharashtra has, for several years, suffered from vacant faculty positions and poor budgetary allocation for higher professional education.
“We had asked every college to give us a list of faculty members they have in each subject and we increased their student intake capacity based on the information we received,” Mishra added.
Private medical colleges will also undergo similar expansion. But they will have to undergo an MCI inspection before getting the additional seats.
However, students can breathe easy as, by March-end, the MCI believes that the student intake capacity for PG medical seats in the country will stand at approximately 16,500. Already, MCI has sent out sanction letters for 1,600 seats to various state government. Before the expansion process rollout, India had 14,260 seats in the various PG medical streams.
Maharashtra officials said that filling up of vacant faculty positions was the priority now. The state has also informed the MCI that it will in the next couple of years start post-graduate courses in its medical colleges in Kolhapur (which started in 2001), Akola and Latur (both started by the government in 2002). “Once we start PG courses in these three colleges, we will probably have the highest number of seats in the country,” said an official.
As of now, with the seat expansion already taken place, the race to make it to a PG course during the admissions season of May 2010 is likely to ease a lot.