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4,800 MBBS seats reserved for economically weaker students: Union Minister

Around 4,800 MBBS seats have been reserved for students from economically weaker sections in the current year, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan said Friday.

He told the Lok Sabha that there has been an increase of
24,698 seats for Under Graduate and Post Graduate in medical colleges in more
than two years.

There has been an increase of 15,815 UG seats and 2,153 PG
seats during the 2017-18 and 2019-20 period.

In 2019-20, 10,565 UG seats and 2,153 PG seats have been
increased, he said.

The Minister of Health and Family Welfare said there are now
around 75,000 MBBS seats for students who qualify the National Eligibility Cum
Entrance Test (NEET).

“The government has taken several steps to increase the
number of seats in various medical educational institutes/ medical colleges
across the country,” he said.

Responding to supplementaries during Question Hour, Vardhan
said around 4,800 MBBS seats have been reserved for students from economically
weaker sections this year.

Among various measures, it has been made mandatory for all
medical colleges to start PG courses within three years from the date of their
MBBS course recognition.

The minister said new medical colleges are also being
established by upgrading district/referral hospitals preferably in under-served
districts.

In a written reply, Vardhan said 82 such new medical
colleges are being established under a centrally-sponsored scheme.

Under the scheme, the Centre would provide 60 per cent of
the funding while the rest would come from the state concerned. In the case of
North Eastern states, 90 per  cent of the
funds would be from the central government.

Vardhan said in the first phase, 58 districts in 20 states/
Union Territories have been identified and approved.

“Total cost of establishment of one medical college is
Rs 189 crore. Funds to the tune of Rs 7,507.70 crore have been released to the
state/ Union Territory governments for the approved medical colleges under the
scheme,” he noted.

As many as 39 medical colleges have become functional in the
first phase of the scheme that was launched in January 2014.

In the second phase, 24 new medical colleges in eight states
have been identified.

“The total cost of establishment of one medical college
under this phase is Rs 250 crore,” the minister said.

Out of the 24, 17 medical colleges have been
approved till date and funds to the tune of Rs 1,375.13 crore have been
released to the state governments, he added.

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