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New Delhi: The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday approved establishment of 58 new Medical Colleges attached with existing district/referral hospitals across the country, an official statement said.

Of this, eight medical colleges have already started functioning in last three years, while the remaining 50 would be made functional by 2019-20.

The Cabinet also gave approval for establishment of 24 additional Government Medical Colleges by 2021-22, in identified under-served areas across Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Sikkim. The decision was part of 2018-19 Union Budget.

In addition, the Cabinet approved continuation and completion of scheme for setting up of 112 Auxiliary Nursing and Midwifery Schools (ANM) and 136 General Nursing Midwifery (GNM) schools by 2019-20 in the underserved areas.

To increase the availability of qualified doctors, it also gave approval for increase of 10,000 MBBS seats by 2020-21 and 8,058 PG seats by 2020-21.

"The scheme on establishment of new medical colleges (58+24) would lead to addition of another 8,200 MBBS seats in the country. The proactive steps taken by the government to increase the number of qualified doctors in the country, has already added nearly 13,000 MBBS seats and 7,000 PG medical since 2014-15," said the statement.

The Cabinet aims to create additional manpower especially focussing on increasing government seats in the under-served or un-served areas to make medical education more affordable for general public, bridge the provider-patient ratio to attain Sustainable Development Goals and meet WHO standards.

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