The Telegraph
 
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MBBS seat slash may get Modi ear

Ranchi, Aug. 18: Union health minister Harsh Vardhan today verbally assured a Jharkhand delegation led by state health minister Rajendra Prasad Singh in Delhi that he would speak to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the ongoing MBBS seat crisis.

State health minister Singh also told The Telegraph after the hour-long morning meeting that his Union counterpart proposed constituting a high-level committee under the Prime Minister to evaluate the issues that led to Jharkhand losing out on 160 medical seats, a Medical Council of India (MCI) recommendation that the Centre endorsed.

Singh claimed having made a logical presentation before the Union health minister that would be “an eye-opener for the Centre” on “how the MCI, which recommended 160 seats be slashed across all three state-run medical colleges, was biased”.

“Harsh Vardhanji was very positive and heard us out for almost an hour at his residence in Delhi today. Learning that around 150 children’s careers would be at stake if the medical seats were suddenly slashed, he assured us of taking up the matter with the PM,” minister Singh said.

Citing infrastructure and manpower lacunae, the council recommended 60, 50 and 50 MBBS seats be slashed from RIMS (Ranchi), PMCH (Dhanbad) and MGM (Jamshedpur) this academic session, reducing their strength to 90, 50 and 50, respectively.

Union ministry of health and family welfare approved this drastic solution in early August, a decision that endangered the careers of scores of students who cleared this year’s All India Pre-Medical Test and completed or were in the middle of counselling formalities.

On his plans, Singh said: “We will keep ourselves abreast with facts. I want a thorough briefing from our people (heads of medical colleges and health officials) on the points raised by the MCI and what has been done in response to comply with them.”

Joint secretary (health) B.K. Mishra, MCI member (Jharkhand) R.P. Srivastava, dean of RIMS S.N. Choudhary, principals of PMCH and MGM P.K. Senger and A.N. Mishra were among those who were at the meeting. Ranchi MP Ram Tahal Choudhary of the BJP, who came to Delhi with Singh’s delegation apparently to speak on this issue, was absent.