Published: 16th December 2021
NEET UG, PG seats in the country up by 72, 78 per cent in seven years. But that didn't solve the doctor shortage
This data, released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare may be fascinating to look at, especially at a time when NEET aspirants are waiting for their counselling dates
Between 2014 and 2021, the Narendra Modi-led government has increased the number of medical UG and PG seats in the country by 72 per cent and 78 per cent respectively. This data, released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare may be fascinating to look at, especially at a time when NEET aspirants are waiting for their counselling dates. However, despite these efforts, the country even now only has one doctor for 1,075 people, which is below the World Health Organisation's prescribed benchmark doctor-patient ratio (which is 1:1000).
"The numbers of PG seats have increased by 78 per cent from 31,185 seats before 2014 to 55,595 seats. The number of UG seats has increased from 51,348 before 2014 to 88,120 seats as of the date which is an increase of 72 per cent," said Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar, Minister of State, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. She was answering a question by BJP Rajya Sabha MP Harnath Singh Yadav, regarding doctor shortage.
Covering up the shortage
According to Dr Pawar, there are 13,01,319 registered allopathic doctors in the country. According to the interpretation of the United Nations data, there are 1,400,080,350 people in India right now. This says that there is one doctor to treat 1,075 people. However, the MoHFW does not admit a shortage but rather projects that India's ratio is healthier than that of a lot of countries. The ministry says, "The doctor-population ratio is 1:834 in the country.."
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How is it possible? By including Indian medicine doctors in the mix. Dr Pawar adds, "...assuming 80% availability of registered allopathic doctors and 5.65 lakh AYUSH doctors. Further, there are 2.89 lakh registered dentists, 33.41 lakh registered nursing personnel and 13 lakh Allied and Healthcare Professionals in the country."
The way forward
Now, despite a delay in NEET UG and PG counselling, the ministry says that it is doing its bit to improve the doctor-patient ratio. While the ministry says that it is planning to construct 22 more AIIMS, construction of 18 institutes have begun already. "(We are implementing) a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for establishment of new medical colleges by upgrading district/ referral hospitals under which 157 new medical colleges have been approved and 70 are already functional," Dr Pawar says.