Representational image | Photo: Dhiraj Singh | Bloomberg
Representational image | Photo: Dhiraj Singh | Bloomberg

New Delhi: A Group of Ministers (GoM) on health headed by AYUSH Minister Shripad Yesso Naik has suggested reducing the MBBS course from 5.5 years (including internship of one year) to 4.5 years to streamline it “with the changing circumstances”, ThePrint has learnt.

It recommended three models to bring down the duration of the MBBS course. Besides, it suggested a two-year mandatory rural posting of doctors before awarding them MBBS degrees to increase availability of doctors in rural areas.

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The recommendations are part of a report, accessed by ThePrint, submitted to the government in October by the GoM comprising Union ministers Jitendra Singh, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Rattan Lal Kataria and Debasree Chaudhuri.

The report, titled ‘Converting Adversity into Opportunity to Strengthen Healthcare Infrastructure in post-Covid19 India’, pointed out: “The current Covid-19 crisis has given an opportunity to have a complete overhaul of the policy imperatives in the health sector in the long run.

“The government-funded health insurance system alone may not be sufficient to have a lasting solution to bring efficiency, transparency and effectiveness, especially in the primary healthcare scenario.” 

The report recommended a slew of measures to improve healthcare in India. 

The GoM stressed on the fact that there is a need to reduce the duration of the MBBS course and focus should be on qualitative skilling rather than “quantitative knowledge gathering”.

“There is no doubt that the curriculum of MBBS needs to be revised to reflect the changing disease burden of the country and the ground realities. There is a tendency to overburden the students with content information, which may or may not be relevant for her future endeavours. Practical clinical skills are not given enough importance in the assessment of a medico. Therefore, the focus needs to shift from quantitative knowledge gathering to qualitative skilling,” the report stated.


Also read: Critics of Modi govt’s medical education reform Act are missing these 3 points


The three models

The report said the length of the MBBS programme has already been reduced to 50 months (excluding internship) from 54 months by the Medical Council of India (MCI). 

“As such, the programme is already near the desired duration of 4 years. Three models can be suggested for reducing the MBBS duration and/or restructuring the MBBS and PG programmes to streamline it with the changing circumstances and make trained medical human resource available for public service early,” stated the report. 

The current MBBS programme is for 4.5 years, excluding a one-year internship. 

Under model one, recommended by the GoM, it has been suggested reducing the MBBS duration from 5.5 years to 4.5 years by reducing the course work to 4 years and internship to 6 months.

“The first year may include teachings in basic sciences and health courses involving anatomy, physiology and biochemistry. The next one-and-half year, the students may be exposed to broader specialties like medicine, surgery, pediatrics and anesthesiology. And during the last one-and-half year, they may be exclusively posted to the pre-assigned specialties like OBG, surgery, pediatrics, internal medicine or other required specialties,” it said.

The MCI had last year reduced the 54-month MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery) course to 50 months.

The second model of the GoM suggested reducing MBBS duration to 4 years by following model one without the internship, and offer allotment of speciality and superspeciality PG courses of 2 years at the end of final year based on one common exit exam — NEXT (National Exit Exam as already proposed by the government). 

“The students, without wasting any time on completion of the bachelor course, can join the speciality course depending upon choice and merit in the common exit exam. This option may be limited to meritorious students only, who pass the exit exam with a high score, the others passing out as normal physicians,” it said. 

Under the third model, the GoM suggested to provide an integrated 6-year MD/MS programme with electives being chosen in the fourth year of MBBS. 

“This is a variation of model 2, wherein the initial entrance exam itself may be made a basis for entry to the 6 years course (4 years MBBS and 2 years PG). An integrated programme would provide not just doctors but specialists with adequate clinical experience acquired over 6 years. In this model also, there would not be an internship,” it said. 

The report added that a calibrated approach to find a right mix of specific disease knowledge and common problems of the society needs to be found and incorporated in the curriculum.

“Innovation, entrepreneurship and skill development are the need of the hour for ushering medical education reforms. The curriculum should be need-based rather than conservative and outdated. Medical institutions today are not having a uniform curriculum and teaching methodology,” it said. 


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Rural posting

The group has also recommended a two-year mandatory rural posting of doctors before awarding them MBBS degrees. 

“There is a shortage of medical officers in rural areas for obvious reasons. Most of the physicians prefer staying in cities because the villages lack facilities like good accommodation, schooling for kids and other recreational activities. The existing rules also do not provide for mandatory rural service after completing medical education.”

“There is a tendency among the professionals doing UG and PG from government institutions to switch to private professions on completion of the course for higher earnings through practice in cities,” it pointed out. 

To tackle this problem, the group suggested that MBBS or integrated MD/MS pass-outs must undergo a mandatory two-year rural posting before being considered for registration as a medical practitioner, whether in the government or the private sector. 

“To make this mandatory posting less harsh for the graduates, the one-year internship period can be combined with an additional one-year rural posting for meeting the above criteria,” the report stated. 

It further said the accommodation and other basic requirements of medical officers posted in rural areas should be taken care of to retain them. 

“Alternatively, a hardship allowance should be given to cover for these deficiencies for rural posting. To encourage doctors to serve in rural/remote areas, states should be provided the flexibility to incentivise through extra credits to doctors with an experience of serving in rural areas during admission for PG courses.” 

The GoM also has pointed out that the “prejudice of AYUSH being a non-scientific field can be overcome by integrating it in the MBBS curriculum”. 


Also read: NEP plans to integrate AYUSH & modern medicine, allopaths say it’ll produce ‘official quacks’


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39 COMMENTS

  1. While read the statement, it’s necessary because now a days or from last students just gathering a lot of unnecessary quantitative logis that’s not good but instead of it they should encourage itself to know and experience the endeavourship and skillfully acquire knowledge. Thanks

  2. We have FMG qualified doctors already in our country they are waiting to serve India, why GOI doesn’t allow them to get into main stream. India have dearth of doctors so take them they are educated from WHO approved best University,better than many indian medical college/university.
    So GOI thinks that anybody can treat poor and unfortunate villagers. They would be on mercy of intern, intern can do what they want.
    Instead internship should be done with seniors doctors and after that they should be posted in rural area.

  3. Bridge course BDS to MBBS has been recommended by the committee members while documenting new education policy 2020. But till date Government of India has not initiated any positive action on the subject matter. We most earnestly appeal to the Government to implement the recommendations of introducing bridge course BDS to MBBS for benefitting the public. It will reduce the shortage of availability of the general practitioners in India. After completing bridge course, they should be posted to rural places.

    • What a stupid decission….. AYUSH has no right to interfere in medical decission
      Firstly it’s was a very worse decission to allow AYUSH to medical surgery ,there are no similarity to there syllabus compare with MBBS syllabus.
      But BDS’S 80 present are similar with Medical.
      So it’s better to approved BRIDGE course BDS to MBBS,
      They do better…!!

  4. Its great idea!! Only mbbs of 4.5 or Integrated ones of 6 year is much better as it directly gives pg degree to doctors….. And i like the idea of one comment in which rural posting of 2 years should be done at late age… When u grow old with much much experience where you have no worries of family, partner, kids and many such reasons… Hence, giving the poor people the bestest treatment possible by doctors in best state of mind, as they will be treated with much skilled doctors rather than freshers….which obviously poor people deserve more in our country “india”. I wished i had that chance… As i am already passed out nevertheless “der aaye durust aaye”

  5. Wait,observe, think,experiment,plan, don’t do anything in hurry as only because covid situations strain on medical education &care.

  6. V.good decision. Because a person can look after his kids schooling, when he is in urban areas. Education should be a plus point to a career and not a burden and useless thing.

  7. V.good decision. Because a person can look after his kids schooling, when he is in urban areas. Education should be a plus point to a career and not a burden and useless thing.

  8. Which rural area will be sent to someone who is studying MBBS abroad? Please give answer MCI and Related minister.

  9. Stopped government..stuppied BJP..u people are killed indian economy by demonitization and GST..u people are killed farmers by form bill…u people already killed indian doctors by NMC bill and again u killing them by new new worest rules.. AYUSH minister are illiterate people…my condolences to indian doctors for not they are fighting against government…indian doctors are fear of government ??…RIP indian doctors..

    • Can you please learn proper english first? Because your english is on such a low level and so is your knowledge about the indian government

  10. This is probably the dumbest solution. So you want to skip pathology, pharmacology and micro and jump straight from anat to surgery and medicine? What nonsense is that. And some people find even 1 year of internship less to complete their rotations and find out what they’re interested in, you want to reduce that to 6 months? Maybe have a separate paramedical course for these special situations instead of cutting a course like mbbs that way.

  11. Let the medical fraternity decide scientifically than a total layman with a post fumble with the the key strategies . As such medical education quality has deteriorated. The Ayush us in for kichdi. Keep mincing med education .best way to keep population under conteol

  12. Just to start more number of private medical colleges. That’s all just like engineering medical education is in danger
    Foolish move

  13. If u think from a students perspective reducing the degree duration +2 yrs of compulsory posting its like almost also wasting a students productive yrs of educational lifetime instead if only the official are think to provide better facilities in rural areas then we need more efficient doctors ,only if mbbs ongoing student complete his/ her course in time then only they can look out for pg ..this way of modeling is more like slacking way of time of students into the stream & reducing the efficiency of the child ..its about providing better & efficient doctors for the population and not like providing a bulk chunk of doctors simply to put it in simple & logical terms

  14. Undergraduates and post graduate medical education should continue as it is now. Duration of teaching of paraclinical subjects like Pathology,Microbiology,Pharmacology and Forensic Medicine is reduced.We can not completely ignore this. Rather I feel subjects of Preventive and Social medicine ,Medical microbiology and Forensic medicine should be given more importance in MBBS curriculums instead of trying to dilute it further by reducing to 4yrs and six months including internship.

  15. Who gives the rights to AYUSH ministry to deal the matters pertaining MBBS? They consider MBBS a cakewalk and wants to implement their unreasonable theory resulting in the production of unqualified quacks and after then it will result in just blaming of the MBBS doctors.

  16. So that the villagers become Guinea pig to the young children who are not even doctors as they will be provided college degrees after rural posting.
    Nobody talks about increasing the facilities at periphery.
    I really hope they land up in such a situation where they will be treated in the same rural hospitals in which they want villagers to get treated in.

  17. As usual some unqualified set of politicians will take a decision about how doctors will be trained ? The present system of training in Allopathic medicine has evolved over a long period of time and gained it’s importance due to the hard work put in by clinicians, academicians and researchers.
    How can a non academic group take such a drastically altered view without any consultative process?
    Rural healthcare should be augmented as part of a policy to improve the overall infrastructure.
    How can a proven system of rigorous training be radically hacked to suit political expediency ?

  18. Great decision by government.. Now we need good skilled doctors to serve rural India.. My opinion doctors need good knowledge in patient’s expectations , dedicative working skills instead of knowledge regarding theoritical subjects.. Physician not scientist.. They are health care workers.. SUPERB DECISION.

  19. First u give neet then next this rule sucks it means in whole year of students life u have to study and other think they doing giving Ayurveda doctors wright to do surgery and also so many Bengali doctors who pretend to be doctor give medicines they don’t have any degree also so many exams to doctor that’s so unfare and they saying we are making next generation doctors I mean come on that was worst bill of decade at the pay scale of doctors is very less after that much hardwork

  20. There should be ban on politicians to go abroad for treatment. These quacks should be personal physician of our politicians. There won’t be any difference between nurse, compounder and doctor

  21. What about infrastructure of all government and corporation hospital in city as well as rural places. Why not make it better place to visit. GDP spent on health facilities, why not discuss that.

    Again a Eye wash for public.

    Sorry state remains.

  22. this move is just like to increase quantity reduce quality of product. internship is done under observation of experienced doctors n staf. its just like training. same can’t happens at ruler hospitals. u can’t put any ones lives in such untrained unscaled docter. BJP is just get screwed.

  23. instead it should be started early i.e, after Matriculation. that could be more relevant.
    Rural posting should be mandatory for 1 or 2 years before retirement. provide an experienced doctor to rural people and it would be easy for a doctor nearing retirement to stay in villages as they have no no apprehensions for career and education of kids etc.

  24. Please do this.
    If u do this it will be of great help to those who wanna persuade medicine after realizing that they r not a quality product for engineering

  25. Can’t the government give a good salary to the doctors which might attract them to villages to work? What about doctors who live their only parent to support him/her? What if the doctor has a nice house in the city? There are a million reasons why a doctor can’t work in village. Shouldn’t the government open new medical college in the villages inorder to increase number of doctors in villages for atleast 1 year by the compulsory internship. And how will doctors feel when they will get their graduate degree after grilling themselves for a total of almost 6 years ?

  26. Idk why.. everyone thinks that only MBBS degree holder is capable of treating the patients..?? Also the syllabus is so vast that 5.5 years is less to complete it…now they’re gonna to reduce time period…Grew up people..

  27. GOM ko kya pata nahi hai ki there are other subjects like pathology, Bacteriology, forensic medicine, preventive and social medicine to be taught in MBBS ?

    • Na,bhai inhe na pata hai aur na pata karne ki eechaa. Kiuki wo khud to public ke paise se videsh chale jainge apna ilaz karane. Aur hume chod denge marne ke liea.

  28. In the first model, they have skipped 8 different subjects in the MBBS course. Second, the whole theory is required to understand and gain practical skills. Presently, both happen parallel to one another and most students do not understand the practical skills because the theory is not completed yet. That is why, practical training is a continuous evolution as they learn new theory. Hence, cutting down on theory time is foolishness.
    The theory is huge in its syllabus. Covering it is 5.5 yrs is almost impossible except for those with eidetic memories. Reducing that to 4 yrs and just 6 months of practical training will only result in half-baked doctors.
    On top of this, not give degrees without completing rural postings means they cannot take independent decisions in rural areas and should be under the thumb & supervision of far less qualified and ancient doctors i.e if those supervisors actually intend to stay in the same villages. Most government doctors on the administrative side lose most of their medical skills within the first 5 yrs.
    Finally, present laws regarding mixopathy combined with these new rules will only discourage students from joining modern medicine.
    By the way, why is it that a cabinet committee on MBBS duration & syllabus does not have the health minister as a member who is a modern medicine doctor but has AYUSH minister as the head, who is a whacko & a hypocrite, not even any form of doctor.

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