Mumbai Medical education in the state is expected to witness additional seats in both undergraduate as well as postgraduate admissions next year. As per information shared by the central government recently, Maharashtra government medical colleges have been approved an additional 150 seats in MBBS and 692 seats in PG medical courses to be implemented from next year.
“There are eight existing government medical colleges in Maharashtra that don’t offer PG medical courses at present. These newly-approved seats will be introduced in such colleges, so as to make PG medical more approachable and affordable for students across the state,” said Dr Pravin Shingare, former director of the state Directorate of Medical Education & Research (DMER).
He added that of the 150 MBBS seats approved by the central government, 100 seats will be made available in the Osmanabad GMC, which is scheduled to get its final approval and start admissions intake by 2023-24 academic year.
In 2019, the union health ministry proposed 75 new government medical colleges (GMCs) across the country. In Maharashtra alone, the state government accepted proposals to set up 11 new GMCs in Nandurbar, Satara, Parbhani, Buldhana, Sindhudurg, Nashik, Amravati, Osmanabad, Palghar, Alibaug and Mumbai.
Of these, the Nandurbar GMC was ready for accepting admissions in the 2020-21 academic year itself while the institutes in Satara, Sindhudurg and Alibaug started accepting admissions in 2021-22 academic year.
The newly-approved seats will not only be in new colleges but also in the existing ones, which has been questioned by some experts. “In the last two years, several existing medical colleges have sought an increase in their seat intake, and denied permission due to lack of appropriate infrastructure. The government should ensure that seat intake is not implemented at the cost of quality of medical education,” said the dean of a Pune-based private medical college on condition of anonymity.
While the news of an increase in seat intake has made students and parents happy, many are worried that the distribution of these seats in ‘popular’ courses will be important. “Additional seats in clinical courses will be a huge advantage for PG medical aspirants, and we hope the seats are being distributed in such courses. Non-clinical course seats have been going vacant even at top government-run medical institutes so adding more seats in such courses is a lost cause,” said Sudha Shenoy, activist and parent of a PG medical aspirant.