Bangalore: Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday said the Centre had taken a host of measures to address the shortage of human resource in the health sector, including relaxing the retirement age of medical teaching faculty to 70 years from the 2010-11 academic year.
Speaking at the 15th convocation ceremony of the National Institute of Mental Health here, he said the ministry hopes to address the shortage by amending regulations, relaxing norms in Medical Council Rules and commencing new schemes.
"To meet the shortage of specialists and faculty, the teacher-student ratio has been increased from 1:1 to 1:2. For the academic year 2010-11, nearly 4000 additional seats in different postgraduate courses in government medical colleges across the country have already been approved."
The minister hoped these initiatives would create an additional 10,000 post graduate seats in the next two years.
"Regulations have been amended to allow medical faculty be employed upto age of 70 and would come into effect from 2010-11," he said, adding state governments would have to implement it.
Other measures included allowing the corporate sector to set up medical colleges and raising the ceiling for MBBS admissions from existing 50-100-150 seats to 200-250 seats. To overcome faculty shortage, the Centre has permitted those with DNB qualifications to teach, Azad said.
A centrally-sponsored scheme to strengthen and upgrade teaching facilities and increase teaching and non-teaching specialists in state governments` medical colleges with total central funding of Rs 1350 crore has also been approved. "This initiative alone would enhance the number of PG seats by 5000 annually," he said.
The minister said an outlay of Rs 2900 crore has been approved in the 11th plan for nursing service and a new scheme to open Auxiliary Nursing and Midwifery schools and General Nursing and Midwifery schools in un-served districts with a capacity for training 22,000 nurses annually.
"To ease severe paramedical staff shortage in various disciplines, a Rs 1,000-crore outlay has been approved in the 11th plan to set up a National Institute of Paramedical Sciences in New Delhi and eight regional institutes.
"In three years, schemes undertaken by the government would produce 23,000 post graduates annually," Azad said.