Union minister J P Nadda today said the Centre was exploring all possibilities to increase medical seats in colleges to overcome the shortage of doctors, particularly specialists, in the country.
Delivering the convocation address at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) here, he said the ministry would look into all options to increase the number of under graduate and post graduate seats.
The goal of the BJP-led NDA government was to reduce the inequality in availability and accessibility of health services, said the health and family welfare minister.
"The country faces a crippling shortage of doctors," he said.
The Centre is tackling this by rapidly increasing the capacity for training undergraduates and postgraduates in existing medical colleges and also by establishing new ones, he said.
"The need for specialist doctors is most acutely felt today. The ministry is exploring all options to increase the number of under-graduate and post-graduate seats in the country," Nadda said.
The minister also said the government has introduced the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test to ensure transparency and reduce corruption in the field of medical education.
"We have introduced NEET as a uniform, single entrance test for all students across the country, ushering in an era of transparency and leading to drastic reduction in corruption," he said.
Suitable amendments have also been carried out in the graduate and post-graduate medical education regulations for making common counselling for admission in medical colleges mandatory, Nadda added.
Pointing out that the cost of medical care has increased manifold in the country, he said "unethical practises" also significantly contribute to this rising cost.
"This puts a great financial strain on our poor people pushing them below the poverty line. I urge my doctor friends to work towards the better health care for the poor. There has to be standard care at standard cost," he said.
The minister also stressed upon the need to promote the Research and Development in diverse fields such as health and disease, biotechnology, stem cell biology and tissue engineering, information technology, nanotechnology, bioinformatics and structural biology.
He also urged fresh medical graduates to dedicate their service in remote areas of the country for some time.
Nadda added that what makes state-run SCTIMST here unique is that it synergises clinical medicine, biomedical technology and health sciences into a homogeneous concoction, providing training and research opportunities in these fields through interdisciplinary collaboration.
As many as 122 senior residents and students who graduated in 2016 after completing various courses, received their degrees on the occasion.
Atomic Energy Commission's former chairman Anil Kakodkar, former Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar, the institute's Director Asha Kishore were among the participants.
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