The Telegraph
Monday , August 11 , 2014
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Yes to MBBS seat slash

- Health ministry agrees with council

Ranchi, Aug. 10: The Centre has endorsed the proposal of the Medical Council of India (MCI) to slash MBBS seats at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi and Patliputra Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) in Dhanbad, putting a question mark on the admission process underway at these state-run institutions.

The department and medical colleges have received a letter from the Union ministry of health and family welfare in August first week that agrees in principle with the council’s recommendation to slash 60 seats from RIMS and 50 from PMCH.

To add to the state’s worries, principal health secretary B.K. Tripathi who wrote to the director in the health ministry Sube Singh on July 29, requesting him to keep the number of seats at RIMS and PMCH as they are at 150 and 100, respectively, has not received any reply.

“The only letter from Union ministry of health and family welfare that we got refers to the MCI recommendation on the seat slash. The letter intimates that two medical institutes, the one in Ranchi and the other in Dhanbad, will have 90 and 50 seats, down by 60 and 50. Things look bleak,” said a senior state health official who refused to come on record.

Asked about the development, B.K. Mishra, joint secretary (health), said: “Yes, we are in a fix. Even on July 29-30, officials from the ministry of health and family welfare had given us a positive telephonic response. Suddenly, we are not getting any (positive response).”

However, Mishra held out hope. “Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had expressed displeasure with the MCI’s pan-India initiative of slashing seats. Agar iss mamle ko woh Supreme Court tak kheech ke le jaate hain, tab asani se kuch raasta nikal sakta hai (If Vardhan brings the matter to the notice of the Supreme Court, there can be a way out),” he said.

The department has not officially finalised a plan to tackle the seat mess. “We will be forced to take the very harsh and extreme step of removing students with lower ranks. But, we will do this only if we do not get any response from Delhi by this weekend,” Mishra said.

When told that some medical colleges in Odisha and Bengal, which had faced similar MCI fiats, were finally allowed to continue with existing seats, Mishra said: “That’s true. But they approached the MCI before its executive council meeting and the affected institutes as well as the states maintained communication with the council.”

Why couldn’t Jharkhand do the same? “In our case, we got the MCI letter very late,” Mishra claimed, putting the onus on the council.