Background: Medical education has grown in India in nearly 6 decades since independence, but no quantitative assessment of this growth exists.
Discussion: We examine the growth of medical education institutions in India, especially in the private sector, and their geographical distribution during the period 1950-2004. We show that the rapid growth in the number of medical colleges in India since 1950 has been driven largely by developments in the private sector. The private sector, currently accounting for over 45% of medical colleges in India, grew by 900% between 1970 and 2004, with the bulk of this growth occurring in the richer states. We assess the reasons for these trends and the ensuing equity implications.
Conclusion: The growth of the private medical education sector over the last 6 decades is the most dominant feature of the Indian medical education landscape.