After recognising postgraduate medical degrees of USA, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand for teaching in India, Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday said that the government’s next step will be to allow non-resident Indians (NRIs) with foreign medical qualifications to practise along with teaching in India. This is possible by making suitable amendments to the law, he noted.
He was speaking after inaugurating the country’s-first Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Medical College set up at Rajajinagar here.
The college marks ESIC’s foray into the education sector apart from health care. The college will start the first batch of MBBS course from this year. Permission has been granted by the Medical Council of India to start the UG course with an intake of 100 students.
Regretting the shortage of doctors in the country, Azad said, “In our pilot project launched in 100 districts over 21 states, we have initiated screening people for diabetes, blood pressure, cancer and heart-related diseases. So far, one crore people have been screened for BP and diabetes. However, we have not been able to examine people for cancer and heart diseases due to shortage of specialised doctors.”
He said that his plans to extend the pilot project as a national project was delayed due the shortage of doctors.
He wanted more medical colleges to be set up by government and private sectors to produce more of doctors.
“Entrepreneurs from the South are welcome to establish more medical colleges in the north and eastern parts of the country. Also with medical colleges by the labour department agencies, we wish to cater to the needs of the country,” Azad said.
Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment Mallikarjun Kharge expressed his inability to implement projects in stipulated time as a lot of time was wasted in getting permission from various departments. It took one year to get necessary clearance for the medical college complex which is coming up in Gulbarga. “The best way to do away with delays is by having a ‘single window system’ to get all the clearances such as environment, fire department and approvals of other services like water, electricity for projects of national importance in the minimum period,” he noted.
“Eight medical colleges are coming up in the country and we can open four medical colleges next year, if the Medical Council of India gives approval,” Kharge said.
He further said everyone is afraid of Right to Information (RTI). In the name of transparency, works are held up. Even officials are scared to take decisions. A time frame should be set to give clearances, he demanded.
CM Jagadish Shettar, state labour minister B N Bachegowda, former union minister Oscar Fernandes and leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah were present.