According to the National Medical Commission, the number of medical colleges countrywide aggregates a mere 562, of which 276 are privately promoted institutions, nowhere near enough for a country with a population of 1.35 billion
One of the conspicuous failures of post-independence India’s centrally planned Soviet-inspired socialist economy in which private initiatives in higher education were rigidly controlled by the rents-extracting neta-babu (politician-bureaucrat) brotherhood, is the small number of medical and life sciences higher education colleges. According to the National Medical Commission, the total number of medical colleges countrywide as of May 2021 aggregates a mere 562, of which 276 are privately promoted, nowhere near enough for a country with a population of 1.35 billion.
With a large number of India’s 50-60 million middle class households anxious for their progeny to qualify as doctors of latter-day allopathic medicine — there are a large number practising as doctors of ayurvedic and unani medicine — medical education in socialist India has a long history of scams and scandals.
For almost a century, supervision of medical education, accreditation of medical colleges and registration of medical practitioners was the privilege of the Medical Council of India (MCI) which after the mushroom growth of private medical colleges in the 1980s, became a byword for corruption until its repeatedly elected president Ketan Desai was prosecuted for corruption, and MCI was abolished and replaced with the National Medical Commission in 2020. But meanwhile, promotion of greenfield medical colleges was reduced to a trickle. The outcome of an accentuating supply-demand imbalance was that a large number of aspiring medical practitioners enrolled in medical colleges in Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine and China which offer relatively affordable medical education compared with Western countries.