Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated 11 government medical colleges in Tamil Nadu over a video call on Wednesday, January 12. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi and Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandavia were present for the inaugural event held in Dindigul. The Prime Minister also opened the new building of the Central Institute of Classical Tamil (CICT) there.
The newly-inaugurated colleges are at Virudhunagar, Namakkal, Nilgiris, Tiruppur, Tiruvallur, Nagapattinam, Dindigul, Kallakurichi, Ariyalur, Ramanathapuram and Krishnagiri districts in the state, and would have a cumulative capacity of 1,450 medical seats, the PM said. These have been sponsored by a Union government scheme set up for establishing new medical colleges that are to be attached to existing district or referral hospitals. Over 1.5 crore people in these districts and adjoining areas, the Union government believes, will benefit from the new initiative.
CM Stalin thanked the Prime Minister for his presence at the first such event held by his newly-formed government. Speaking at the event, the Chief Minister said, âThe idea that there should be medical colleges for each district in Tamil Nadu was a dream of Muthamilarignyar Kalaignar [M Karunanidhi]. We had included this hope in our 2016 Assembly election manifesto. It is Kalaignarâs dream that has been realised today.â He also added that Tamil Nadu was among the states leading in the number of MBBS students. CM Stalin further said, âI ask the Union government that has aided us in the setting up of these eleven colleges to also extend their support to open similar such colleges in newly formed districts in the state.â
Importantly, CM Stalin also stressed the DMK-led governmentâs position on the National Eligibility cum Entrance Exam (NEET) and asked that students from Tamil Nadu be exempted from the exam. The Chief Minister argued, âOur ideology is that opportunities must reach the rural and low-income students. The fear that this fundamental right may be taken away from them is why we have been opposing NEET and we ask that Tamil Nadu be exempted from it.â
Also addressing the gathering, PM Modi first extended his greetings to the people of Tamil Nadu for the upcoming Pongal festival using the popular saying âthai pirandhaal, vazhi pirakumâ â translating to âthe Tamil month of Thai will open new pathsâ. âMedical education is one of the most desired stream of studies. The problem of shortage of doctors is well-known, but there was not enough interest taken to solve this problem. Maybe vested interests did let previous govts take the right decisions and access to medical education remained an issue,â the PM said. He also said that ever since the BJP took office, the Union government has worked to address this gap. âThe Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Infrastructure Mission aims to address the critical gap in health infrastructure, especially at the district level. Funds worth Rs 3,000 crore will be allocated to Tamil Nadu over the next five years,â PM Modi added.
Regarding the new CICT building he also inaugurated, the PM added that it would help make Tamil studies even more popular.
At the event, the state government also presented a 11-point memorandum to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya. The memo details Tamil Naduâs stance on NEET with reference to the Justice AK Rajan Report, expediting the construction of AIIMS in Madurai, request for an AIIMS in Coimbatore, the establishment of medical colleges in six other districts and the abolition of All India Quota for fully stated-funded medical institutions, among other concerns.
With Inputs from PTI