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Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh: Surging ahead in Medical Education


The foundation of an effective healthcare delivery system lies in its

competent and properly trained human resources.  With a population of 1.3 billion

people to cater to, the Indian Medical Education System is one of the largest in the

world. The past few years have also witnessed rapid advances in this field.  The

Government of India has effectively taken steps to achieve the goal of improving

the doctor-patient ratio both in terms of quantity (increasing admission) and quality

(better training of medical students).

The National Medical Commission Act, 2019 has been enacted under which

a National Medical Commission will be constituted in place of Medical Council of

India. This will go in a long way in overhauling the quality of medical education and

bringing it at par with the international standards. A uniform entrance examination

namely National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) has been introduced

alongwith provisions for common counseling for admission to UG / PG Medical and

Dental courses This will promote merit and transparency in admission process,

thereby attracting the best of talent. Further, 158 new medical colleges have been

opened in the last six years and MBBS seats have been increased from 51,112 in

2014 to 80,312 in 2019(a growth of 57%) and PG seats by 23,903 (i.e.79%) - from

30,191(2014) to about 54,094 (2020). Besides, under the Centrally Sponsored

Scheme for establishment of new Medical Colleges, establishment of 157 new

Medical Colleges have been planned, out of which, 43 have already become

functional. These measures are accelerating improved access to tertiary care and

expansion of Medical Education in underserved areas.

The Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh have also benefitted

a lot from these efforts. This article touches upon a few of these measures.

The Central Government in its endeavour to promote Medical Education in

the Hilly areas and the Special States has been assisting the State Government of

Jammu & Kashmir (presently UTs of J&K and Ladakh) for improvement in Medical

Education Infrastructure. The Union territories of J&K and Ladakh with a population

of nearly 1.25 crores had only 4 Medical Colleges (03 Govt and 01 private) till

uptothe year 2018-19, thereby managing to train merely 500 MBBS students every

year.A number of meritorious students from the UTs had to seek admissions in

other Medical Institutions across India and even abroad.

The introduction of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for

“Establishment of new Medical Colleges attached with existing district/referral

hospital” of has been a game changer in the State.

The Scheme:

To meet the shortfall of human resource in health, the Government initiated a

Scheme for “establishment of new Medical Colleges by upgrading district/referral

hospitals” preferably in underserved districts of the country with fund sharing

between the Central Government and States in the ratio of 90:10 for North

East/Special Category states and 75:25 for other States. By opening new

Government Medical Colleges by attaching existing district/referral hospitals, a

substantial number of MBBS seats are being increased, thereby making Medical

Education affordable in the country and mitigating shortage of doctors with respect

to the population and distribution of the human resources across the country.

UNION TERRITORY OF J&K

Undergraduate Medical Education:

Under the scheme, the state government has been sanctioned with 7 new

medical colleges. As per the special state dispensation, 90% funding with respect

to the scheme is provided by the central government.In Phase–I,five Medical

Colleges were sanctioned at Anantnag, Baramulla, Doda, Kathua and Rajouri. Out

of these, four Medical Colleges (Anantnag, Rajouri, Kathua and Baramulla) have

already started functioning since 2019-20, adding 400 additional MBBS seats. The

Medical College at Dodais also likely to become functional shortly. Besides these,

two more Medical Colleges at Udhampur and Handwara (Kupwara) have been

sanctioned by the Government in the ongoing Phase III of the Scheme. A new

Medical College at Leh has also been sanctioned under the scheme, providing the

Union Territory of Ladakh its first Medical College, with 100 seats.

At present, one Private Medical College and seven Government Medical

Colleges are functional in Jammu & Kashmir, with a total intake capacity of 985

seats. Out of the seven Government Medical Colleges, four have been established

under the above said Central Scheme. After theremaining three Medical Colleges

approved in the Scheme become functional, the total number of undergraduate

MBBS seats in Jammu & Kashmir would increase by another 300 seats.

Besides this, two new AIIMS have also been established in UT, one each at

Vijaypur, Samba and Awantipura, Pulwama.The MBBS classes for AIIMS, Vijaypur

are likely to start in the year 2020-21.

Post Graduate Medical Education:

In order to improve the Post Graduate Medical Education, the Government

has been providing an incentive of Rs 1.20 Crore per seat, of which 90 percent is

provided as Central Share.  The UT was allocated additional PG seats in Medical

Colleges Jammu / Srinagar and SKIMS Bemina, Srinagar under the Scheme. With

such initiatives, the number of PG seats in the UT has nearly doubled from 289


seats in 2013-14 to 568 seats in 2019-20. In addition to this, 51 Diploma seats have

been converted into Degree seats thereby increasing the number of trained

specialists in the state.   

Besides these, the National Board of Examination, with a mandate for rapid

expansion of DNB program, has added nearly 50 seats in Jammu & Kashmir in the

last three years.  

         The efforts of Government over the past years have been bearing

considerable fruits. Similar reforms are underway in the other sectors suchas

Nursing Education, Dental Educationandalliedandhealthcareprofessions. The

Government has approved the introduction of a new law for a regulatory body for all

the allied and healthcare professionals called ‘The National Commission for Allied

and Healthcare Professionals Bill’. This will be introduced in the Parliament in the

forthcoming sessions.

Needless to say, these efforts at improving both the quality and quantity of

healthcare professionals will go a long way in improving healthcare service delivery

in the UTs of Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh. These steps are important stepping

stones to promote better health and well being of our people and also to train more

productive workforce.

By:

Dr Yashpal Sharma MBBS, MHA (AIIMS New Delhi)

Director Coordination New Medical Colleges and MD JK Medical Supplies

Corporation Ltd

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