Lending a massive blow to Karnataka, the MCI has denied renewal sanctions to eight medical colleges in the state.
Additionally, eight colleges which were to be set up, most of which were to be government-run, were also denied approval.
So Karnataka loses 2,410 seats total, tarnishing its image as India's 'medical education hotbed.'
Infrastructural deficiencies and staff crunch were prime reasons behind MCI's decision.
Out of the colleges that have been refused renewals, four are state-run, including Koppal Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) in North-Karnataka.
The rest four, including Bengaluru-based 55-year-old St John's Medical College and three others in Vijayapura, Kolar and Tumakuru, are privately-run.
The eight new colleges, seven of which were to be state-run, were to have an intake of 150 students each.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) had carried out inspections earlier this year, which led to the cancellations.
Almost all colleges are protesting the refusals, with some like St John's and Oxford Medical College planning to approach the Supreme Court.
They might be joined by the state medical education department.
Others, meanwhile, will wait for the MCI's permission to start admissions.
When it comes to state-run medical colleges, the government considers the permission denied to KIMS' seat-increase proposal as the only loss.
V Manjula, Principal Secretary, Medical Education, admitted that recruiting professors for KIMS is difficult as the college is situated in Koppal, which have accessibility issues.
This year, with the elections in place, it became all the more difficult, she said.
Manjula further said at the time of inspection, some key posts were vacant and some staff members weren't present.
That's why MCI enlisted 'lack of sufficient staff' as one of the primary reasons.
Talking about the other seven planned government-colleges denied sanction, Manjula said it was inevitable as "we didn't pursue the issue of approval aggressively" and "decided to strengthen existing medical colleges."
In 2017, the MCI had prohibited three colleges from taking admissions for the next two years for a significantly severe false claim: they were passing off healthy people as patients.
The institutes in the dock for this violation were Sambharam Institute of Medical Sciences in Kolar; Akash Medical College in Devanahalli; and Shridevi Institute of Medical Sciences in Tumakuru.
With 56 colleges and 12,000 seats, Karnataka has India's highest number of medical seats, including 8,750 in MBBS. When it comes to MBBS seats, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu come in the next two spots.
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