Maharashtra government plans one medical college per district via Public-Private Partnership

Mumbai(dna): Though its plans to start six new medical colleges in the state have hit a roadblock, the Maharashtra government is planning to take the public private partnership (PPP) route to set up at least one new medical college in each district.

The Centre had rejected the state’s proposal to start six new government medical colleges in Maharashtra. These colleges were supposed to come up at Chandrapur, Gondia, Satara, Alibag, Baramati and Nandurbar. They were approved by the erstwhile Congress- NCP led state government. The state also planned to open a new government medical college in Mumbai. But the Supreme Court (SC) has cleared the decks for starting the Chandrapur medical college.

“We are planning a minimum of one medical college in each district through the PPP route,” education minister Vinod Tawade told dna. He added that they were considering various models for private participation.
A senior official said that while options like the government running the medical colleges with the private party controlling the hospitals or vice-versa were being looked at, they were likely to settle on a joint management model. Here, the government will grant land, and the private parties will fund the infrastructure creation.

The government and the private party will manage the college and allied hospital jointly, with the state holding the controlling stake. The private party and the government will have the option of opting out after 25 years. The private partner will be vested with the responsibility of the hospital.

“We will soon decide what is feasible, and issue expressions of interests (EOIs),” the official said. This first-of-its kind initiative to overhaul the state’s bare-bones public health system will be on the lines of the practice in neighbouring states like Madhya Pradesh.

The state has, however, received permissions to start a 150-seat public college attached to the RN Cooper hospital at Juhu and a private medical college—Vithalrao Joshi’s medical college– with 100 seats has also been allowed at Ratnagiri. The private Dr Ulhas Patil medical college and hospital at Jalgaon has also been permitted to increase its seats from 150 to 200.

The official admitted that they were doing a re-think about the sites for the proposed medical colleges at Satara and Alibag, due to problems in getting land. “We are also planning to finalise another site in Mumbai for the government medical college based on our plan,” he added. The college was supposed to come up at the GT and St George hospitals in South Mumbai.

Maharashtra has 14 government-run medical colleges at Ambejogai, Aurangabad, Latur, Nanded, Akola, Yavatmal, two in Nagpur, Dhule, Pune, Kolhapur, Miraj, Solapur and Grant Medical College (GMC) in Mumbai.

Of the existing 6,095 MBBS seats in Maharashtra (before this capacity addition), 2,100 are in government colleges, followed by 1,675 in deemed universities, 1,620 in private colleges, 460 in medical colleges run by civic bodies, 140 in the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, and 100 in the MGM college at Wardha.

The last increase in government medical college seats was in 2002, when three medical colleges with an intake of 300 under-graduate seats were opened at Kolhapur, Latur and Akola.

The new medical colleges would add another 100 under-graduate seats each in the government sector. This capacity increase will bring relief to aspiring students, who will get a breather in the dog-eats-dog competition to get admission to government medical colleges as compared to non-transparent and costly private sector medical education.