Date posted: December 2, 2011

The Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia has pitched for opening up of the medical education sector to foreign direct investment (FDI) to increase the supply of professionals, including doctors and nursing staff.

“My view is that opening up (medical education) to private (investment) sector is crucial… and wherever private investment is allowed, I have no problem with foreign investment,” said Ahluwalia on the sidelines of a Health Summit organised by CII.

He further added, “If the private sector is going to set up 10,000 beds over the next few years, then you have a chance that 30 medical schools could be created.”

Montek highlighted that with the present number of medical institutions in the country, it is not possible to produce half a million doctors in the next few years, which is the need of the hour.

“At present, you cannot run a medical university unless you are a society or a trust. If you have a major corporate hospital and want to run a medical school, it is not allowed. Is that a good idea?” he asked.

Terming the law prescribing that only trust or societies can run a medical school in the country as an obsolete idea in the present context, Ahluwalia stressed, “Generally people want more doctors. But nobody is focusing attention on what specific relaxation is needed if you really want (to produce) more doctors.”

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