NEET PG 2017, clinical subjects, medical colleges, doctors, NEET PG

At the behest of the Narendra Modi government, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has revised the teacher student ratio to increase postgraduate medical seats in clinical subjects. As per a notification dated January 31 issued by the MCI under its PG regulations, the teacher student ratio will now be 1:3 for professor and 1:2 for associate professor, who is a unit head.

The measure is expected to yield about 5,000 additional PG seats in clinical subjects in the coming years. A meeting was also convened by Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry with all states/UTs on January 24 in which they were advised to take action for immediately increasing seats in PG courses in government medical colleges.

The increased availability of PG seats along with a centralised entrance exam -- National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test – Post Graduate (NEET PG) -- is now being seen as a major step in reform of medical education in the country. The admission process to medical courses has also been made transparent with many states adopting combined counselling at state level for under graduate admissions.

India has 472 medical colleges and close to a million registered doctors. However, there is a shortage of doctors as per World Health Organization norm of 1 doctor per 1,000 population. To facilitate the setting up of more medical colleges, the Central government had rationalised the requirement of faculty in July 2015.

Infrastructural requirements are further being rationalised. There is also a centrally sponsored scheme for establishment of new medical colleges in underserved areas.

The expansion of postgraduate medical education is a priority as the shortage of PG medical seats in the country affects not only the availability of specialist doctors, but also the ease of getting faculty for medical colleges.

A 100 seat medical college requires 58 faculty members at the permission stage and 105 faculty members at the recognition stage. There are about 18,000 PG medical seats in clinical subjects in the country. Assuming that 100 new medical colleges are set up in the next four-five years, additional faculty members of around 6,000 to 10,000 will be required.