There is ever increasing demand of health service facilities in the State for two reasons. One is the increasing population and large scale movement from rural to urban areas where employment opportunities are more. The second is advanced health consciousness among the people. This has put a great pressure on health services. We are already short of doctors and paramedical staff in the hospitals and medical colleges, and the pressures have made position critical.
It is not easy for the State to meet all the requirements that constitute a standard medical college. Actually, a well-established system is in place which lays down the norms for a State to open a medical college. The Medical Council of India is the Government agency that takes care of these matters. For quite some time, the State has been demanding increase in the number of medical seats in MBBS so that increased number of doctors is produced and the deficiency of teaching faculty in the medical colleges is reduced and done away with. As a result the MCI had agreed to additional 50 seats to the Government Medical College Jammu. However, just announcing that 50 additional seats have been sanctioned makes little sense unless the stipulated pre-requisites are met. The MCI sent its team of inspectors to report on the infrastructural aspects of GMC. In its first visit, the MCI pointed out some glaring deficiencies in the GMC Jammu and advised the college administration and the Health Department to remove the deficiencies before sanction would be accorded to enrolment of additional 50 students for MBBS.
In its last visit, the MCI team had found to their surprise that no deficiency already pointed out has been removed except some minor ones in the paramedical manpower and class room infrastructure. Naturally, it has not been possible for the team to make any recommendation because it has not found the shortcomings removed. Not to speak of recommending additional seats, the team had sharply criticized GMC on a number of counts. For example it had pointed out that a large number of faculties are put in charge of higher post which is not advisable. The MCI team had made clear recommendation in its report that the practice of placing junior faculties in charge of higher posts was unacceptable. Another important deficiency again mentioned by the team is the absence of biometric attendance system.
Further, GMC has not conducted DPC of all the 90 members of faculty which is a big shortcoming. Astonishingly, while the GMC Srinagar has taken all steps to overcome the deficiencies pointed out by the MCI in its previous visit whether with regard to manpower or infrastructure, GMC Jammu is falling short in every aspect.
It is a matter of great disappointment that GMC Jammu is taking the matter of additional MBBS seats so lightly. We hope we need not explain in too many words the loss that Jammu region will suffer if the additional seats are cancelled just because the GMC authorities are unable to understand the loss that is looming large. The Health Ministry and its officials will be responsible for any loss if it happens owing to their carelessness. We hope the Minister in charge of Health will understand the seriousness of the situation and take immediate steps to remove the shortcomings.