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Medical capitation fee zooms as seats go under knife

Kalpana Pathak  |  Mumbai 

In its zeal to scrap seats, the (MCI) has unwittingly driven up the cost of medical education, allowing private colleges to fill their coffers.

So far this year, has slashed 6,390 bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery (MBBS) seats on grounds of lack of infrastructure and shortage of faculty. But many private colleges have fished in troubled waters and are seeking higher "As it is, we are short of medical seats. With scrapping so many more, private colleges have upped their capitation fee," said a senior doctor and professor at a government medical college in Chennai.


At present, the asking capitation rate for an undergraduate seat is Rs 25-50 lakh. For postgraduate medical seats, the rate is between Rs 75 lakh and Rs 1 crore and for super-speciality courses, it is between Rs 1 crore and Rs 2 crore.

With tuition fee at Rs 9-11 lakh a year at private medical colleges, the four-year programme will cost a student up to Rs 44 lakh. Coupled with capitation fee, this will rise to Rs 94 lakh-1 crore.

Emails sent to the president and vice-president remained unanswered. But a senior council member, asking not to be named, said: "When colleges do not have the required infrastructure in place, we have to act tough. has put its foot down and refused approval to many colleges this year. That the country is short of the adequate number of seats or doctors cannot be a reason for us to allow substandard education. Even at present, the quality of doctors is increasingly questionable in India."

He, however, added had received requests from different states to reconsider its decision to scrap seats. "We will take a call on it."

The member said the body was well aware of the menace but no action could be taken, given that there had never been a formal complaint from any student, parent or institution.

"It is a well-known fact that is prevalent and illegal. Non-serious candidates with deep pockets avail of these seats. But cannot do much if (the University Grants Commission) does not do its job. has allowed proliferation of private colleges and deemed universities. It is the one not doing its job well," he said.

"It is a well-known fact that is prevalent and illegal. Non-serious candidates with deep pockets avail of these seats. But cannot do much if (the University Grants Commission) does not do its job. has allowed proliferation of private colleges and deemed universities. It is the one not doing its job well," he said.

Fees at government colleges are as low as Rs 11,500 a year, or Rs 44,000 for the four-year programme; Rs 20,000-25,000 for the postgraduate programme and Rs 30,000-35,000 for super-speciality courses.

The official says a key reason for slashing seats is that there is a lack of faculty members available to teach. "People do not want to get into teaching as private practice is more lucrative. While an assistant professor earns Rs 80,000-85,000 a month, private practice pays you in lakhs of rupees." Slashing of the seats also implies more students will have to look for abroad, given that the cost in other countries is far lower than in India. Over 350,000 students take medical admission tests every year.

Most Indian students prefer China and Russia for degrees, as these options work out cheaper. The cost of an course in Russia is around $3,500-4500 a year (Rs 21 lakh to Rs 27 lakh) for the course of five years and eight months. The course costs Rs 25 lakh for six years in China.

Given the Indian government's failure to set up more medical colleges and increase the number of seats, the number of Indian students going abroad has gone up from around 5,000 in 2007 to over 14,000 at present.

India has 381 medical colleges (private and government), offering 50,078 seats. According to experts, India needs at least 500 medical colleges to produce a million doctors every year. Given that the cost of setting up a medical college with a capacity to train 100-150 students ranges between Rs 50 crore and Rs 80 crore, the segment has not seen many players entering.

First Published: Sat, June 28 2014. 00:56 IST
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