In a bid to address shortage of specialist doctors, the medical council of India has written to medical colleges in Jammu and Kashmir and other states to "avail the opportunity" to secure an increase in the number of postgraduate seats.
According to a source, Kashmir has the chance to get 70-seat increase for the upcoming academic session.
The source said that for the second consecutive year, the MCI has asked the J&K medical colleges to furnish their infrastructural and faculty details by or before 19 January to avail the "one-time increase in seats" in the clinical postgraduate courses for the academic year 2018-19. The decision was taken in January this year as part of the government of India's initiative to revamp medical education and address the shortage of doctors across India.
Consequently, the source said, the teacher-student ratio was revised to pave way for increase in intake capacity of medical colleges.
For 2018-19 session, Kashmir medical colleges are expecting an addition of over 70 postgraduate seats.
Principal government medical college Srinagar Prof Samia Rashid said that the process for securing the postgraduate seats has "already begun."
"Yes, we have received a communication from the MCI but even before that, we were on the job of getting our seats increased," she claimed.
She said that this academic year, a boost in seats was expected in departments of gynaecology and obstetrics and pathology, in addition to other departments that received a go-ahead last year.
During the last academic session, Kashmir medical colleges were able to get a go-ahead for 57 postgraduate seats—37 in GMC Srinagar and 20 in SKIMS medical college, although the expected increase was more.
Due to "administrative apathy", the MCI had turned down the application of GMC Srinagar for increasing the seats in gynecology, dealing a blow to the hopes of better availability of doctors for maternity services in Kashmir. No postgraduate seats were cleared for pathology department of the college either.
There was also a fiasco regarding submission of proposal to the MCI for increase in seats by the SKIMS medical college which was resolved after extension of the last date for application.
The prospective increase in postgraduate seats is meant to address the shortage of doctors in existing hospitals and dearth of faculty in medical colleges of Kashmir. Pertinently, J&K is also expecting five new medical colleges, sanctioned by the government of India in 2014, to come up at Anantnag, Baramulla, Rajouri, Kathua and Doda.
Last week, minister of state for health and family welfare, Ashwini Kumar Choubey informed the Rajya Sabha that overall 5,800 PG seats have been added this year in medical colleges across India. He also informed the upper house that no state-wise data for doctor-patient ration was available.