New Delhi: Union Health Ministry is planning to not let any new dental college come up in the country for the next five years, sources have told CNN-IBN.
Two months ago the arrest of former Medical Council of India chairman Dr Ketan Desai brought to light the ugly side of medical education. CNN-IBN exposed how everything was available for a price including admission into MBBS and post-graduate courses and permission to start medical colleges.
CNN-IBN now learns that even the Dental Council of India is on the investigative agencies radar for allowing mushrooming of low grade private dental colleges.
Health Ministry sources have told CNN-IBN that the ministry is planning a five-year moratorium on establishment of new dental colleges.
Currently there are 310 dental colleges in the country out of which 250 are privately owned and only 60 are run by the government.
Sources in the Health Ministry say that there are far too many seats lying vacant even now. Of the 25,000 dental seats more than 5,500 go vacant every year.
DCI members are now talking of a cartel in the council, just like the one being operated by Ketan Desai in the MCI.
“We have a system in place but it is being twisted around to suit the interests of a few,” says DCI member Dr Usha Mohandas.
The problem is now of too many dentists. According to the WHO there should be one dentist for a population of 7,500 people. But CNN-IBN learns that in some states there are far too many dentists. In Karnataka the ratio stands at 1:2,500 while Kerala has a ratio of 1:3000 and in Tamil Nadu it is 1:4,500.
This has now led to unemployment among dentists. Some insiders say a dentist can be hired in India for around Rs 5,000 a month in some states.
“There are too many dentists who are unemployed. They are also working in call centres,” says Dr Usha.
A judicial commission report in 2005 did raise a red flag on the mushrooming of dental colleges. The commission report accessed by CNN-IBN had made damning recommendations with the most critical being to supersede the DCI and replace the body with five eminent academicians or doctors. Neither the Central Government nor the DCI acted upon this recommendation.
“The medical council, dental council and the nursing council, everyone knows what is going on. But we sit and wait for scams to unearth,” says Minister of State for Health Dinesh Trivedi.
It seems everyone knows what it wrong and what needs to be done. But the Health Ministry and the regulator are passing the blame for now. A beginning has been made to cleanse medical education. The DCI is another den of corruption waiting to be cleaned.