JK STRUGGLES TO SAVE 100 MBBS SEATS

JK is in a fire-fighting mode and running against time vis-à-vis infrastructure and facility development in two government medical colleges to prevent Medical Council of India from cutting down 100 MBBS seats this year, as admission season approaches.
JK STRUGGLES TO SAVE 100 MBBS SEATS
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JK is in a fire-fighting mode and running against time vis-à-vis infrastructure and facility development in two government medical colleges to prevent Medical Council of India from cutting down 100 MBBS seats this year, as admission season approaches.

MCI has underlined the deficiencies in college infrastructure, accommodations and faculty strength, that as per the approving body, are not enough to suffice the intake of 150 students in the GMC Jammu and SKIMS Medical College Srinagar. MCI vide letter MCI-37 (1)(RI-28) (UG)/2015-Med/153521 dated 03-12-2015 had recommended a reduced intake for SKIMS Medical College, and a similar letter was shot regarding the shortfalls that threatened 50 seats in GMC Jammu. The forthcoming batch will in all probability have only 100 students in GMC Jammu and only 50 students in SKIMS Medical College.

While the gaps in requirements pointed out by MCI are not anything new in the history of the two colleges since the intake capacity was increased from 100 to 150 for GMC Jammu and 50 to 100 for SKIMS Medical College Srinagar in 2013 but this time around, the Executive Committee of MCI has put its foot down to slash 50 seats each in the two colleges to maintain the standards set by it.

Notwithstanding the repeated reprimands by MCI, even the minor deficiencies in the two colleges have remained unaddressed over the years as is evident from the MCI Assessment reports of previous years. While the proceedings for admissions for MBBS for the batch 2016-17 are just a few months away, and the MCI final verdict a few weeks far, the state machinery has resorted to stop gap arrangements to retain the seats that had been added to the state's intake.

Recently, ahead of MCI visit last week, GMC Jammu got its faculty promoted on fast track, to satisfy the inspection team and prevent the loss. A reliable source in Health and Medical Education Department said that GMC Jammu faculty promotions were processed on 'fast track' to 'satisfy MCI'. He added that when MCI team had inspected GMC Jammu in October last year, it had threatened that the intake for MBBS in the medical college will be shrunk from 150 to 100. "The main reason for this would have been the shortage in faculty members at this medical college," said the senior official.

Similarly in SKIMS Medical College, the threat of 50 seats loss is due to what the government said a delay in upgrading infrastructure of the college and hospital.

Reportedly, the 250 bedded hospital that needed to be in place for the medical college is in shambles and the new infrastructure has suffered inadvertent delay of 'many years'. As per SKIMS Medical College administration, the delay was due to problems in getting adequate response to the tenders that had been floated many times in past. SKIMS has floated tenders for hospital building once more on February 29th, 2016.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Asghar Samoon, said that the matter of SKIMS Medical College was 'very important' and a strategy was being worked out to address all issues that the college faced. "A cut of 100 seats to state's intake of 500 will be a big loss and we will do everything in our capacity to prevent it," Samoon said.

Director SKIMS and dean SKIMS Medical College, Dr. Showkat Ali Zargar said, "We have taken up the matter. The new college and the new building are need of the hour and there are many factors responsible for the delay in making things happen. It is a huge and important project and will take some time but we are negotiating with MCI."

However, as per reports, while the faculty deficiency at college as per MCI report of March 25th 2015 was mere 8.6 percent it increased to 20.3 percent as per report dated 16th October 2015. "This is due to the slack administration and inertia in the hospital affairs that has forced many faculty members to leave," said many faculty members in SKIMS wishing anonymity. Pertinently, the college has no Principal, and the hospital has no Medical Superintendent. Last month Medical Faculty Associatio of SKIMS Medical College had sent a representation to Governor demanding a full time Principal to streamline the affairs in the college.

Confirming the developments, Commissioner Secretary Health and Medical Education, Dr. MK Bhandari said that GMC Jammu had furnished its compliance report to MCI and MCI was slated to make another inspection sometime soon to verify it. "Their visit dates are not announced because they will make surprise inspection. But deficiencies are being addressed," he said. On SKIMS Medical College issue he said that the governing body of SKIMS was 'solely responsible' for the issues pertaining to this medical college.

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