Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission on October 25, 2021 in Varanasi and while addressing the event he claimed that in the last seven years 60,000 new medical seats have been added.
"2014 se pehle humare desh mein medical ki seaten 90,000 se bhi kam thin. Beete 7 varshon mein desh mein medical ki 60,000 nayi seaten jodi gai hain: PM (Before 2014, our country had less than 90,000 medical seats. In the last seven years, 60,000 new seats have been added: PM)," tweeted the Prime Minister's Office.
In fact, the Press Information Bureau (PIB), in a video it tweeted the same day, quoted a different number while attributing the growth to the dynamic leadership of PM Modi.
According to the PIB, 34,477 medical seats have been added in the last seven years. "In 2014, the country had 51,348 medical seats and now that has increased by 67% to 85,825," claims PIB in the above video.
FactChecker referred to responses given in the Lok Sabha, the National Medical Council's records, and annual reports of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) to verify both the claims.
Both Modi and the PIB didn't specify if they were referring to just MBBS or undergraduate (UG) seats, or the sum total of UG and postgraduate (PG) seats. So, FactChecker checked their claims against data on both options.
Since Modi said his regime has added 60,000 more seats to the almost 90,000 that already existed till 2014, this means that currently there should be around 1.5 lakh medical seats in the country, but there aren't. According to MoHFW's Annual Report of 2020-21, there are a total of 1,28,664 medical seats in the country, out of which 86,649 are UG seats and 42,015 PG seats. In 2013-14, according to MoHFW's Annual Report of 2013-14, this number stood at 76,175 total medical seats — 51,979 UG seats and 24,196 PG seats — and not 90,000 as the PM claimed. Data from the annual reports shows that 52,489 seats were added between 2014 and 2021 and not 60,000 as Modi claimed.
Since PMO's claim is also unclear on the timeline, and PM Modi also inaugurated 9 new medical colleges in the state of Uttar Pradesh on October 25, 2021, and it is unclear on the number of colleges that have been inaugurated between April 1-October 24, 2021, not all the seats that have been added are those of government colleges.
When it comes to the PIB attributing the growth to Modi's "dynamic leadership", FactChecker looked at how many medical colleges in India are government and private. There are 51.07% government medical seats in India, according to a response given in the Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey on February 12, 2021. It shows that till February 1, 2021, there were 84,649 UG seats in the country and of these, 41,190 or 48.65% are in private colleges. Since the government doesn't set up private colleges, which are managed by an individual, trust, or other private organisation, the entire credit of the growth can't go to the government or the PM.
PIB's claim that 34,470 medical seats were added in the last seven years checks out if only UG seats are considered.
While verifying the claims, FactChecker found that data on medical seats is different in every source, be it MoHFW's annual reports or National Medical Commission's dashboard or Lok Sabha responses.
Claim #2: Medical colleges increased from 387 in 2014 to 581 now under Modi's dynamic leadership, claimed PIB in the video.
Fact: While PIB claims that 194 new colleges were inaugurated in the seven years, MoHFW's annual reports show that 175 colleges were added in the country from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2021.
In 2013-14, there were 387 medical colleges in India — 181 government and 206 private. The 2020-21 annual report showed that this number increased to 562 — 286 government colleges and 276 private. So, there had been an increase of 70 private colleges and 105 government colleges till March 31, 2021. Since 40% of the new colleges are private, the Centre can't be entirely credited for the growth as it didn't take any initiative in setting these up.
Claim #3: In the video, the PIB also credited the government for opening and operationalising over 79,000 health and wellness centres (HWCs) in the past three years.
Fact: This is true. Under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, 79,416 HWCs have been set up in the country, with 10,088 of them being in Uttar Pradesh, according to the Ayushman Bharat - Health and Wellness Centre dashboard. The first HWC was inaugurated in April 2018 in Jangla, Bijapur (in Karnataka).
By the end of FY 2021-22, the government plans to open 1.1 lakh HWCs, and by December 2022, it aims to set up 1.5 lakh HWCs in the country, according to the Ayushman Bharat - Health and Wellness website.
FactChecker tried contacting the Prime Minister's office for a comment but had not received a response by the time this article was published. We will update the article if and when we do.