New Delhi, Oct 16: The government is planning to "liberalise" approval criteria for medical colleges in view of the need for more under-graduate and post-graduate seats in medicine. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said the criteria for approving medical colleges both in government and private sectors would be "liberalised" without compromising standards.
"I realise the need for more medical colleges. The criteria for approving medical colleges both in the government, and private sectors would be liberalised," he told members of the newly constituted Parliamentary Consultative Committee of Health Ministry, that met for the first time.
Despite the Supreme Court quashing the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) mooted by the Medical Council of India in 2013, the Centre is still keen on it and a review petition has been filed before the apex court. Mehbooba Mufti of PDP urged the government to provide affordable and quality health care to masses by starting medical insurance for the poor and a "drug bank" which will store important medicines, an official statement said.
Vardhan said the National Health Assurance Mission, which would be launched soon, would have the insurance component, and government would pay the premiums for people below the poverty line.
"People above the poverty line would be linked to low-premium schemes that the government would negotiate on their behalf with the medical insurance companies," he said.
Besides Mufti, Rekha Verma of BJP said trauma centres should be set up in states as their economies depend a lot on highways where accidents are frequent. P K Sreemathi Teacher of CPI(M) and P Venugopal of AIADMK highlighted the "successes" of health schemes in their states Kerala and Tamil Nadu, respectively, and called for incorporating them at the national level.
Prabhakar Kore, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Kanwar Singh Tanwar, Dharmendra Kumar, Vinod Kumar, Chand Nath and Prasanna Kumar Patasani were among other members who attended the meeting besides senior ministry officials. Vardhan's suggestion of keeping politics out of health issues was "warmly appreciated" by the members, the statement said.