The National Medical Commission (NMC) has deferred its decision to limit the number of MBBS seats to per 10 lakh population in every state, the commission announced in a public notice dated Wednesday, November 15, three months after it introduced the guidelines implementing this cap.
The decision to defer was prompted by a letter from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoFHW) dated November 1, 2023, requesting a re-examination of the provisions specifying 100 MBBS seats for 10 lakh population in states.
The move to reconsider the decision has also come amid backlash from several states, especially from the Southern region of India, like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and the union territory of Puducherry against the NMC guidelines dated August 16, 2023.
According to Prince Gajendra Babu General Secretary of the State Platform for Common School System (SPCSS) in Tamil Nadu, “The NMC has no right to prevent states from opening new colleges or increasing the strength in the existing colleges, if it is able to have sufficient number of teachers and other facilities as per the procedure laid down. The NMC may impose restrictions only on the private colleges in order to regulate the same and to stop the commercialisation of medical education.”
Career consultant Jayaprakash Gandhi and HS Ganesha Bhatta, former principal of MES Teachers College, Karnataka, have welcomed the NMC’s decision. Gandhi expressed his views, saying, “It is great to see the NMC deferring the issue. In fact, being a democratic country, the Ministry of Higher Education should give the state a free hand to start as many medical, engineering, or professional colleges without basing it on the population of the state.”
Bhatta supported this perspective, stating, “The population of professional courses cannot be distributed according to the state’s population, so I welcome this decision of the NMC.”