New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday said the 67,000 undergraduate and 31,000 postgraduate medical seats in India are highly inadequate for a country with a population of 1.3 billion.
“Currently our medical colleges, whether run by the government or private institutions, have only about 67,000 undergraduate seats and 31,000 postgraduate seats. In a country of 1.3 billion people, this is highly inadequate,” said Kovind speaking at the 45th Convocation of the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) here.
It was time that regulatory bottlenecks and interest groups that hindered the growth of quality medical education in our country were removed, said the President.
Terming the numbers of pass-outs joining the profession every year as insufficient for the overall Indian population, Kovind said fewer seats also led to aspiring medical students seeking admission in colleges in other countries simply because they had limited options at home.
“You will agree that this is simply not acceptable. As a nation, we need to address this situation very urgently. We need to create more opportunities for those young people who want to make medicine their calling,” said Kovind.
During the address, he also called for a new regulatory system to enhance availability of doctors and medical professionals as the workload of existing doctors was incredibly high.
“Doctors need help in the form of more colleagues. And this is where we need a new regulatory system to enhance availability of doctors and medical professionals in our society.
“In the absence of this, the workload on our doctors is very high. We have to overcome regulatory bottlenecks and interest groups that have prevented the growth of quality medical education in our country,” said Kovind.
Exhorting the doctors from AIIMS to give back to the society, the President also said that doctors needed to be legitimately rewarded for their academic excellence, their medical skills and their expertise.
“Yet, as doctors, their services must be available both to those who can afford their fees and also to those who are less fortunate. A disease does not distinguish between rich and poor but unfortunately the poor suffer the most. It is for society to profit from medical science — it is not for medical science to make profit from society,” said Kovind.
According to Kovind, despite the progresses India has made, gaps remain.
“Indian companies are among the world’s biggest manufacturers of vaccines. These vaccines are supplied across the globe. Our innovative medical scientists have even developed new vaccines. But even then, our own immunisation record remains below desirable levels,” said Kovind.