March 18, 2010 / 6:05 AM / 9 years ago

India OKs private firms in medical education-report

MUMBAI, March 18 (Reuters) - India has allowed private-sector healthcare companies to start medical colleges in a move to help ease a shortage of seats, the Financial Express reported on Thursday.

The Medical Council of India (MCI), a state body that regulates the sector and registers doctors, has allowed hospital chains such as Fortis Healthcare (FOHE.BO), Max Healthcare (MAXI.BO) and Apollo Hospitals (APLH.BO) to set up medical colleges, the newspaper said, quoting an official notification.

Only state-run bodies, universities and private religious or charitable trusts were allowed to start medical colleges until now.

The MCI has also relaxed the land requirement norms for companies planning to set up medical colleges in large cities, the paper said.

India currently has an acute shortage of seats in medical education. Hundreds of medical graduates go overseas to pursue higher education as current capacity was hardly about 13,500 post-gradutae medical seats.

Earlier this week, India’s cabinet approved a proposal to allow foreign universities to set up local campuses, part of long-standing plan to reform the education sector. [ID:nSGE62E07D]

The move is expected to reduce the flow of Indian students abroad, with tens of thousands of students heading to universities in the United States, Britain and Australia every year. (Reporting by Prashant Mehra; Editing by Ranjit Gangadharan)

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