In what may come as a relief to thousands of medical aspirants, the Union Health Ministry has asked the Medical Council of India (MCI)'s Board of Governors (BoG) to prepare draft guidelines for the fee structure in private medical colleges and deemed universities from the next academic session.
In its letter to the BoG, the Health Ministry said, "The Commission on its constitution will frame guidelines for determination of fee which may be enforced from the academic session 2021-22."
"It has been desired that the BoG may prepare draft guidelines for determination of fees and all other charges of 50 per cent of private medical colleges and deemed universities as envisaged under the NMC Act 2019 so that the Commission on its constitution may utilise the same and so that it can be enforced from the next academic session--2020-21 -- onwards for both UG and PG medical admissions," the letter read.
How medical aspirants stand to gain by fee regulation
The Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 had no provision for regulation of fees in private medical colleges.
At present, some states regulate fees of some seats in private colleges through MoUs signed with college managements. In addition, the Supreme Court has set up committees chaired by retired high court judges to fix the fees in private colleges as an interim measure. Deemed to be Universities claim they are not covered by these committees.
Nearly 50 per cent of total MBBS seats in the country are in government colleges, which have nominal fees. Of the remaining seats, 50 per cent would be regulated by NMC.
This means that almost 75 per cent of total seats in the country would be available at reasonable fees.
How poor performers with money make it big
There are about 60,000-odd MBBS seats in India. Yet, the candidate that ranks, say - 3 lakh or more in NEET gets admission. As incredible as the situation may seem, the fact is that the high fee charged by most private medical colleges makes it impossible for thousands of meritorious students to get admission. However, poor performers with money get admission.
According to TOI, the student with the highest NEET marks among those admitted into Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Punjab had lower marks than the last student admitted to the open category in each of the government colleges. While the fee in government colleges is Rs 4,00,000, the private university charges a whopping Rs 64 lakh fee. The situation is the same in other states across the country.