NEW DELHI: Opening the door for private companies to enter the field of medical education, the government is set to allow any private profit-making entity to set up medical colleges in the country.
This means that any corporate house as well as leading private hospitals and pharmaceutical companies can now open medical colleges.
As of now, apart from state and central governments, only trusts and registered societies can run medical colleges.
The Union Health Ministry has directed the Medical Council of India to clear the decks for allowing private profit-making companies, which are registered under the Companies Act, to set up medical colleges in the country, sources told Express.
The sources said according to the current eligibility criteria provided for the establishment of medical colleges by the MCI, there is a sub-clause which allows for private companies to open medical colleges but without “resorting to commercialisation”.
Realising that it was this clause, which was preventing purely private companies from entering this field, the health ministry has now directed that this clause be removed.
The sources said that the reference to commercialisation is interpreted by companies to suggest that medical colleges cannot be set-up for purposes of profit.
Accordingly, the Central Government has written to Medical Council of India to substitute this sub-clause of the eligibility criteria, and make it just “Companies registered under the Companies Act”.
The new rules would also allow any society or trust that may have set-up a medical college to convert itself into a company.
“The idea behind the entire exercise is that more and more colleges are set up so that more doctors are trained and the number of medical professionals in the country goes up,” they said.
India currently has 381 medical colleges with 49,918 MBBS seats registered with MCI.
The country has a huge deficit as far as medical professionals are concerned, with the doctor-patient ratio stuck at 1:2000.