About 40 medical colleges across the country have lost recognition over the past two months allegedly for not following standards set by the National Medical Commission (NMC), official sources said.
About 100 more medical colleges in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Assam, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry and West Bengal may also face similar action, they said on Tuesday.
The colleges were not found to be complying with the set norms and several lapses related to CCTV cameras, Aadhaar-linked biometric attendance procedures, and faculty rolls were found during inspections carried out by the Commission, an official source said.
According to government data, the number of medical colleges has increased significantly since 2014.
There is an increase of 69 per cent in the medical colleges from 387 before 2014 to 654 as of now, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar had told the Rajya Sabha in February.
Further, there is a 94 per cent increase in MBBS seats from 51,348 before 2014 to 99,763 as of now and an increase of 107 per cent in PG seats from 31,185 before 2014 to 64,559 as of now.
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To increase the number of doctors in the country, the government has increased the number of medical colleges and subsequently increased MBBS seats, she had said.
The measures and steps taken by the government to increase the number of medical seats in the country include a centrally-sponsored scheme for the establishment of new medical colleges by upgrading district/referral hospitals, under which 94 new medical colleges are already functional out of 157 approved.
Reacting to the derecognition of medical colleges, experts from the medical field said the NMC is largely relying on the Aadhaar-enabled biometric attendance system for which it considers only the faculty who are on duty during the daytime from 8 am to 2 pm.
"But the working hours of doctors are not fixed. They have to work in emergency and at night shifts also. So the NMC's rigidity with the working hours has created this issue. Such micro-management of medical colleges is not practical and the NMC needs to be flexible to such issues," an expert said.
Another expert said, "The NMC is derecognising medical colleges believing there are deficiencies. At the same time, it has also allowed the registration of students in such colleges, which is a contradiction. Moreover, such an experiment is tarnishing the country's image at the global level because India is the largest supplier of doctors and with such instances coming to light, the world will lose confidence in Indian doctors."