The undergraduate and postgraduate medical seats in India is going to be equal in number very soon and the gap of about 40% between the intake capacity for UG and PG medical courses is likely to be bridged in the next 2-3 years.

Sharing the plans of the Union Health Ministry in this regard, a central government functionary told HT, “The government is working to make sure that there are an equal number of seats for undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses in the country so that the gap is plugged.”

“Currently, it is extremely competitive because the number of students who pass MBBS is significantly higher than the number of seats available in postgraduate courses. It needs to be corrected and hopefully in next 2-3 years, we should be able to take care of this issue,” the official added on the condition of anonymity.

Medical Dialogues had recently reported that the MoS Health Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar had informed the Parliament about the intake capacity for UG and PG medical courses. As per the data shared by the Health Ministry, currently India has altogether 96,077 MBBS seats and 49,790 Postgraduate medical seats.

Further there are 12,648 Diplomate of National Board (DNB) / Fellowship of National Board (FNB) PG seats available in the country along with 1621 PG medical seats belonging to the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPS).

Of the total MBBS seats, altogether 51,712 MBBS seats are in the Government Medical Colleges and 44,365 MBBS seats are in the Private Medical Colleges. In case of PG medical seats, overall 30,384 PG medical seats are available in the Government institutes while 19,406 PG medical seats are run by the private management.

Since the PG medical seats are lesser in number, many MBBS graduates are forced to go overseas pursue postgraduate medical education in various streams.

Referring to this, an expert opined that it is very much required to make efforts for increasing the postgraduate medical seats in India. Speaking about this, the former director of Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh told Hindustan Times, “This move will be more than welcome as experts in the field have been asking for it for a long time. A significant number of people shy away from taking up a course in medicine as they cannot be sure of getting a seat in postgraduation.”

“MBBS alone does not hold much value these days, and doctors would want to pursue higher studies. Therefore, this step will be of great significance,” he added.

As per the booklet titled Governance Reforms in Medical Education (2014-2022), released by the Union Health Ministry, as opposed to altogether 387 medical colleges back in 2014, currently India has a total number of 648 medical colleges with the addition of 261 medical colleges.

Recently the MoS Health informed that the total number of medical colleges have increased by 67% with an increase from 387 before 2014 to 648 as of now. Similarly, the total number of MBBS seats have increased by 87% from 51348 before 2014 to altogether 96077 MBBS seats currently.

In case of the PG medical seats, there has been a huge increase of 105% since 2014. While earlier there were 31185 PG medical seats in India, the number has increased to 64059, revealed the Union Minister of State for Health.

While the Centrally Sponsored Scheme ensured opening of 157 new medical colleges, recently the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has mentioned in her budget speech that 157 new nursing colleges will be set up in the newly established 157 medical colleges since 2014. Officials said that or this, all identified medical colleges will be provided funding for the co-location initiative.

“There is a huge demand for health workforce, which we will be able to meet in the future when these doctors and nurses graduate,” the central government functionary told HT.

“The reason behind increasing seats is that it will eventually lead to increase in trained or skilled manpower,” the official further added.