While debating on the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2021 in Parliament, Lok Sabha MP Dr Subhash Bhamre, said there has been a rise in the number of medical colleges in India and a 65% increase in medical seats in the last five years. However, the latter part of his claim is incorrect.
There has been an increase of only 29.8% in the MBBS seats across the country since 2016, proved Lok Sabha response.
During the last five years, 19,466 MBBS seats have been added for aspirants, an increase of 29.8% — from 65,183 seats in 2016-2017 to 84,649 seats in 2020-2021, a FactChecker analysis based on Lok Sabha responses revealed.
In all, there are 43,237 MBBS seats available in government colleges and 41,190 in private.
As the population increases, India will need at least 2 million more doctors by 2030, according to a 2017 study in the Indian Journal of Public Health.
"The shortage of human resources in the Indian healthcare system is alarming, to say the least," Dr Amir Ullah Khan, a development economist and professor at Dr MCR HRD Institute of Telangana told FactChecker.
"We are woefully short on general physicians and the data on specialists, dentists, para medical staff and others is even more hair raising. We need a lot more doctors, certainly 10 times more than what we have now," Khan added.
With 286 government colleges and 276 private ones, India has a total of 562 medical colleges — a 19% increase since 2016. Karnataka (61) tops the list with most number of medical colleges, followed by Maharashtra (60), Uttar Pradesh (57) and Tamil Nadu (53).
However, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa have only 1 medical college each.
"It is also true that we need a solution on the demand side. That is where we need huge investments in public health on the preventive side with large outlays on sanitation, drinking water and toilets," Khan added.