The Centre has urged 14 states to expedite the construction of medical colleges in states with District/Referral hospitals. The Centre wants states to use federal funding as soon as possible under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
The government evaluated developments with the Health Secretaries and Directors (Medical Education) of 14 states and UTs during a review meeting led by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.
The Union Health Secretary raised alarm over project delays. A total of 157 new medical schools have been sanctioned under the project for funding in three phases beginning in 2014.
He encouraged governments to hasten the completion of medical institutions so that UG courses may commence in the 2023-24 academic year.
The review meeting was attended by officials from Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, and Punjab.
“It was pointed out that since the scheme will conclude on 31st March 2024, hence all projects need to be completed in time. It was informed that a sum of Rs. 7,500 crores have been allotted for the schemes of Human Resources for Health (HRH) and Medical Education (ME) for the financial year 2022-23,” said a statement by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
“However, due to the slow pace of expenditure of the States/UTs and since there has been no requisition for release of funds from the states, further release of funds by the Centre to States cannot take place. States were further informed that utilization certificates have to be furnished urgently without delay to enable the Centre to release balance funds,” the statement added.
The Union Health Secretary also stressed the benefits of modern technology, which allow for better resource use and faster project completion.
“States were advised to explore and use locally relevant and green technology options, and steel composite structures for the projects which are yet to start. It was also pointed out that some of the projects seem to be languishing as the construction companies lack requisite experience regarding the building of hospitals and provision of associated specialized services,” said the statement.
The Government of India had launched the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for “Establishment of new medical colleges attached with existing district/referral hospitals” in January 2014, with fund sharing between the Central Government and States/UTs in the ratio of 90:10 for NE/ special category states and 60:40 for other states.