NMC’s MBBS seat allocation reform draws flak, criticized for penalizing progressive state

The National Medical Commission has recently introduced a significant provision that aims to transform the landscape of medical education in India. This provision, which limits the number of undergraduate MBBS seats in each state to 100 per million population, seeks to address the growing regional disparities in the availability of healthcare professionals and enhance the overall quality of medical education in the country.
Expanding Opportunities Across the Nation
One of the most remarkable aspects of this new provision is the potential to create around 40,000 additional MBBS seats throughout the country if the medical colleges distribute them evenly. By doing so, the initiative seeks to tackle a long-standing issue in India – the unequal distribution of healthcare professionals and medical facilities across states.
A Step Towards Equality and Quality
The move is anticipated to reduce the disparities in the availability of healthcare professionals, thus ensuring effective and high-quality education in the medical field. By aligning the number of MBBS seats with the population of each state, the Commission hopes to establish a more equitable healthcare system and improve access to medical education across the nation.
Medical Education with a Vision
The Under-Graduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB) at the National Medical Commission (NMC) is committed to promoting a medical education system that offers equitable and universal healthcare access, encourages a community health perspective, and makes medical services accessible to all citizens. With the new provision, the Commission aims to strengthen the foundations of the medical education system and create opportunities for aspiring healthcare professionals.
Addressing Overcrowding Concerns
The move comes in response to concerns raised by various courts about the overcrowding of medical colleges. These observations highlight the need to align medical seat availability with a state’s population to prevent overwhelming medical colleges. Consequently, the Commission has incorporated the provision of limiting undergraduate seats in each state into the recently announced Medical Council of India’s (MCI) guidelines for 2023.
Mixed Responses Across States
While the NMC’s decision has been met with approval in some quarters, it has sparked concerns in states with surplus undergraduate medical seats. For instance, Gujarat currently has 7,000 undergraduate medical seats but requires only 6,400. This situation has led to concerns that the decision may hinder the state’s ability to establish new medical colleges due to the surplus of seats already available.
Tamil Nadu’s Appeal to the Prime Minister
The move has also faced opposition from certain states. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reconsider the notification’s impact on the establishment of new medical colleges in states. He argues that the provision infringes upon the rights of state governments and penalizes those that have invested heavily in public healthcare infrastructure. The state’s investments have resulted in ample availability of doctors and nurses, thereby improving various health indicators. The move to limit seats could jeopardize the state’s ability to cater to the growing demand for quality healthcare services.
Legal Challenges
Stalin asserts that the notification may face legal challenges based on a recent Supreme Court judgment. The judgment holds that executive instructions cannot impose reasonable restrictions on the fundamental right to establish educational institutions under Article 19(1)(g) of the Indian Constitution.
A Transformative Step
The National Medical Commission’s decision to align the number of MBBS seats with a state’s population represents a transformative step in Indian medical education. While the move aims to reduce regional disparities and enhance medical education’s overall quality, it has elicited mixed responses from different states and may face legal scrutiny in the future.
NMC’s Guidelines for MBBS Admission
While granting admission in MBBS courses the medical colleges are required to ensure that the admission is in terms of the following parameters, based upon the NMC Regulations:
(i) No Admission is permissible beyond the sanctioned intake capacity.
(ii) Eligibility Criteria regarding age and Qualifying Marks for different categories as per Regulations on Graduate Medical Education, 2023. Candidates must have completed the age of 17 years on or before December 31st of the year of admission to the MBBS course. Must have passed the Qualifying Examination i e. 10+2-
(iii) Must have qualified NEET-UG (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) for admission to MBBS Course.
General Category: 50s percentile or above.
Physically Handicapped: 45th percentile or above
Reserved {SC/ST/OBC}: 40th percentile or above.
(iv) All admissions have to be made through the prescribed Regulations mentioned below.

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