Eight new private medical colleges are set to open in Bihar as two US and six Indian firms have submitted proposals to invest in the health sector.
"The Bihar State Investment Promotion Board (SIPB) has approved the proposals for eight new medical colleges in the private sector," said a state official on condition of anonymity.
"This heralds the beginning of big private investments in the health sector," he added.
According to SIPB sources, two US firms, owned by NRIs, have submitted separate proposals for opening medical colleges in Patna.
Medical World4U, a company owned by Ashok Kumar, a US-based doctor, is to set up a medical college and super-speciality hospital here with an investment of Rs.1.4 billion.
Another firm called Indo-American Medical Foundation is to invest Rs.1 billion in setting up a college.
Bettiah, in west Champaran district, has attracted two proposals - one by Medicontrivers India Ltd and the other by Kerala-based Universal Empire Group.
Rajeshwar Thakur, a doctor in the Bihar capital, is to invest Rs.3 billion and the Hai Medical and Research Institute Pvt Ltd has proposed a project worth Rs. 80 million.
In Bhojpur district's Ara town, the Ambedkar Medical and Technical Education Trust has proposed a Rs.350 million project.
SIPB has also approved a proposal by the Lord Buddha Educational Trust to open a medical college and hospital in Saharsa district with an investment of Rs.1 billion.
Bihar currently has six medical colleges and hospitals and all are state-owned.