NMC issued notice to 40 Indian Medical Colleges over Quality Concern

In recent months, dozens of medical colleges across India have been criticized for deficiencies by the National Medical Commission (NMC), the country’s top medical regulatory authority. This has raised concerns among some doctors that the government’s initiative to increase the number of medical college seats may compromise the quality of education received by aspiring doctors.
In recent weeks, the NMC has sent notices to multiple medical colleges as part of its routine process. However, doctors and medical students not affiliated with the NMC have criticized the process for being opaque and worrisome in its outcome.
According to unnamed official sources cited by the Press Trust of India, approximately 40 medical colleges have “lost recognition” in the past eight weeks for allegedly not meeting the standards set by the NMC. Furthermore, around 100 more medical colleges in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bengal, Gujarat, Pondicherry, and Tamil Nadu may face similar action, as reported.
The deficiencies in these colleges reportedly involve faculty rolls, Aadhaar-linked biometric attendance procedures, and closed-circuit TV cameras.
A member of the NMC stated that the notices sent to colleges are part of a routine and dynamic process in which the regulatory authority identifies issues or lapses for the colleges to rectify. The member emphasized that this exercise is in the students’ interest.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), the largest group of doctors in the nation, and other segments of the medical community have criticized the lapses, suggesting that these are the outcome of a rushed establishment of new medical colleges or the addition of seats without ensuring that every college meets NMC standards before admitting students.
India’s Union Health Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, recently highlighted on Twitter the doubling of both undergraduate and postgraduate medical seats as one of the government’s achievements over the past nine years. The number of medical colleges has increased from 387 in 2014 to 693 in 2023. Alongside new colleges, regulatory authorities have also approved additional seats, leading to over 105,000 MBBS seats in 2023 compared to 51,000 in 2014, and over 66,800 postgraduate seats in 2023 compared to approximately 31,000 in 2014.
Sharad Agarwal, the national president of the IMA, stated, “Adding medical seats without first ensuring that the colleges adhere to all required standards is making a mockery of medical education. It is unfair to students in colleges with lapses and unfair to people who will receive medical care from doctors graduating from such colleges.”
The NMC’s prescribed standards specify the number of teaching faculty in different departments, details of classrooms, laboratories, infrastructure, and access to patients in medical college hospitals to ensure that students gain sufficient clinical exposure.
Earlier this month, the IMA expressed concern over the NMC’s blanket approval of many colleges based on affidavits pledging compliance with the required standards, in response to complaints from students at three government medical colleges in Uttar Pradesh.