ESIC Exits Medical Education, State Colleges' Fate Uncertain

A directive by the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) barring its medical colleges from admitting students from the next academic year and stopping staff recruitment has taken the state government by surprise.
In a memorandum on January 5, a copy of which is with Express, deputy medical commissioner (ME-II) Vivek Handa has stated that ESIC at its 163rd meeting on December 4 decided to exit the field of medical education since it was not its core function.
The memorandum made it clear that ESIC may neither undertake further admissions to  medical colleges and other medical educations (PG, nursing, para-medical and dental) nor start new medical colleges. All ongoing medical education programmes may continue till the students pass out or (they) are adjusted according to provisions of the Essentiality Certificate issued by the state government, whichever is earlier.ESIC has decided to hand over its medical colleges and other medical education institutions having separate infrastructure to the state governments willing to such a transfer.
Karnataka has ESIC medical colleges in Bengaluru, which run PG courses, and another at Kalaburagi which was established two years ago. Kalaburagi ESIC Medical College dean Dr Chandrashekhar, who confirmed the receipt of the memorandum, said, “To complete the remaining three years of MBBS, the college needs more staff but ESIC has barred recruitments.”
Medical Education Minister Sharanaprakash Patil told Express that the state government has expressed its willingness to take over the Kalaburagi and Bengaluru colleges for which modalities were being worked out. He said the first round of discussions were held with ESIC officials a few days ago and the government will put in all efforts to sort out the problem at the earliest.
To a question, he said a Medical Council of India team has already inspected the college in Kalaburagi besides the proposed six government medical colleges in the state. Patil ruled out handing over the Kalaburagi ESIC Medical College to Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences to run it as its own college.
On the six government medical colleges proposed, Patil said the government has tried to overcome most of the deficiencies pointed out by MCI last year. MCI’s fresh recommendations for these colleges are expected within a fortnight and the colleges will get time to rectify deficiencies, he said.
Meanwhile, Kalaburagi MP Mallikarjun Kharge said he has written three letters to the Prime Minister and the Labour Minister asking them to let ESIC run the Kalaburagi college or hand it over to AIIMS. He had played a major role in bringing the college to Kalaburagi when he was a union minister.

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