Sunday, August 22, 2010

Medical Education in India: A Synopsis

This is a compilation of the most up to date data on Medical education in India:
1. Medical Education(Doctors) Summary:This document contains the number of seats available in each Indian State in all systems of medicine: Allopathy (MBBS and BDS) and AYUSH(Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homepathy).
2.Pharmacy Education Summary: This document contains the number of seats available per State in colleges that award Degrees and Diploma in Pharmacy as also those that only conduct the courses that lead to a Degree or Diploma.
3. Nursing Education Summary: This document contains the number of seats in BSc Nursing and Post Basic Nursing programs per State.
4. Medical Education Summary: This document contains the summary of the above data along with references.

The data has been collected from respective governing bodies homepages and appropriate references are provided. Related and similar data is available on Ministry of Health and Family Welfare but that is not complete from the point of view of available educational opportunities in Medical Sector. The references in document point to complete List of respective colleges along-with their contacts and addresses.

Some Observations:
1. There is huge inequality in availability of opportunities for Students across States as exhibited by following graphs:

The first image shows the number of Seats in Medical Stream per thousand students in Standard 1 presently. This captures, the inequality with respect to overall population of a State irrespective of the learning environment and outcomes that make a Student eligible to lay claim to these opportunities.

The second image shows the number of Seats available per thousand Students passing out of 12th Class. This can be a reflection on better opportunities available in some states as also poor Graduation Candidate Ratio in other states. In Karnataka both are extreme and hence disproportionately higher number of opportunities available for Karnataka Students. If we contrast the two images, we get an idea that increasing retention at the Secondary level puts pressure on the availability of higher education opportunities even in Backward States like Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan.

These extreme inequalities also indicate that their is no such concept called India as far as Medical Education is concerned with some big states like Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal along-with North Eastern States barely visible on the first graph. Just 4 States: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu constituting just about 20% of India's population account for about 1.3 lakh out of about 2.4 lakh Seats across India.

2. The educational opportunities in Medical sector (predictably) has a high correlation with health infrastructure as well. In absence of adequate data on number of beds or doctors or Clinical establishment per State, we can probably use Blood banks as a proxy. The 5 States of Andhra, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have 1085 out of total 2347 Blood banks in the country. If we look at Eye Banks, these 5 States again come up trumps with 306 of the 586 Eye Banks in the country present in these States.

3. Looking at Mental health, the top states again dominate with 1364 out of 2294 psychiatrists. Contrast this with just 12 in Madhya Pradesh, 15 in Chattisgarh, 19 in Odisha and 28 in Bihar. True, in most states,including top 5, number of psychiatrists available is less than half required in case of most of the rest it is not even 10%. The number of Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatric Social workers that we need are 10261, 14057 and 20194 respectively while the availability is 2294, 355 and 294 respectively.

4. Though it is Kerala which is famous for its Kerala Ayurveda, number of Seats in Ayurveda for Kerala is just 896 which is less than a third of those in neighboring Karnataka and less than a fourth of those in Maharashtra.However Kerala if famous for good reason, notwithstanding number of students admitted, Kerala leads with 124 Ayurvedic Hospitals and 740 dispensaries in contrast to Karnataka's 130+561 and Maharashtra's 55+469 Hospitals+Dispensaries.

5. Bihar accompanies Madhya Pradesh as the only States where number of Seats in Homeopathy is more than those in MBBS. The former is 830 and 1755 respectively while latter number is 660 for Bihar and 1070 for MP. It is Maharashtra though which has the highest number of Homeopathy colleges(49) admitting 3596 students which is close to its 41 MBBS colleges admitting 4570 students.

6.Just 3 States: Andhra, Karnataka and Maharashtra account for half of the Diploma/Degree Seats in Pharmacy i.e. 38680 out of 77195.

7. Karnataka churns out 1/4th of all Indian nurses with 18958 seats out of all India 74356. In contrast, the 19 States from bottom have less than half that number of total Seats.

8.Uttar Pradesh tops the number of Seats in the Unani System of medicine with 220 out of 620 Seats across India.


  1. These are frequency distributions; you must do some thinking about what leads to what.

  2. Thanks for commenting Ashok, yes these are mere statistical observations.But these statistics are important and not available elsewhere. I do am thinking that why do we have so much inequality and what is the way out.We need to first understand where do we stand.Latest state level data from official sources about students enrollment in 12th Class is probably from 2006-07.Given rapid changes that we are undergoing, I hope this will be of help to a lot of people who are looking at these issues and save their valuable time.
    It is not uncommon to come across research papers in 2009-10 based on 2004-05 data and policies being formulated based on that. Our Education Minister is targeting a GER of 15 by 2015, its possible we might have already achieved that!!

  3. Thank you for this fantastic blog - very informative and thought provoking, although not very unexpected.

    Its a vicious circle between poor medical education infra and poor health services - both of which are probably linked to general poverty of the state. To snap out of this, a concerted plan may be needed which attacks both issues together - but where will the money and expertise (e.g., lack of skilled faculty, lack of doctors and paramedics etc) come from? I think its possible to make a successful strategy even with a regular budgetary provision - part of the answer I think lies in correcting a market failure between supply and demand for hospital beds and college seats in different states.

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