TN gives conditional nod to take over ESIC medical colleges

Seeking to end the ‘uncertainty’ among the students, Tamil Nadu Government today conveyed its conditional ‘in-principle’ consent to take over two medical colleges of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), which is exiting medical education from 2015—16.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister O Pannerselvam said the State would take over the colleges —— one here and another proposed in Coimbatore —— provided certain conditions, including the corporation bearing a capital cost of over Rs. 570 crore, were accepted.
He also wanted the seats to be shared at 85 per cent for state government and 15 per cent to All India quota as per the current norms for government medical colleges instead of 65 per cent to the state, 20 per cent to ESI employees and 15 per cent to the national pool.
ESIC’s ‘sudden and drastic’ decision to exit from medical education had come as a rude shock to the students of the colleges —— one functioning in KK Nagar here with 138 students while the other one was coming up in Coimbatore. “Uncertainty’ about continuance of the colleges has fuelled anxiety and agitation amongst the students, he said.
Referring to ESIC’s conditions for the take over, he said one of the ‘conditions indicated’ was that the State government had to provide Rs. 571.23 crore as balance liabilities for these two ongoing projects.
The cost of the medical college and hospital being established in Chennai had been indicated to be Rs.494.62 crores while that of the one in Coimbatore Rs. 580.57 crore.
Terming the cost of the two projects as “very high”, he said establishment of a medical college and hospital by the State government worked out to only around Rs. 200 crore.
However, his government, with a view to ‘resolving the uncertainty’ ‘conveys its in-principle’ consent subject to certain conditions, he said.
These included ESIC committing to bearing the entire balance capital cost of Rs. 571.23 crore, meeting the recurring expenditure from State funds under ESI pattern of reimbursement with Centre contributing 87.5 per cent of it, and ESI staff being absorbed by the state government and that they agree to work as per its scales.
The title of the Land and Buildings should be transferred to the State as per the ‘conditionality’ of the Medical Council of India, he added.
Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya has informed Parliament last month that ESIC has spent Rs. 5,345.5 crore till September on its 12 medical college projects across the country, whose estimated cost was Rs.9,990.84 crore.
He had also said ESIC decided to focus on providing primary, secondary and super speciality medical care services to its insured persons and exit the field of medical education entirely as it is not its core function.

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