Medicos Vs Govt in Punjab over MBBS fee hike
It was demanded that a commission should be set up under the watch of a sitting Judge of High Court to look into the ongoing 'loot' of medical students in Punjab, by bringing out a white paper on the fee fixed and charged from students of MBBS, BDS, MD / MS, and Nursing Colleges since 2013.
Chandigarh: The recent announcement of MBBS fee hike has created controversy in Punjab with the students stating that already the fee is highest in the region and now this recent 77 percent rise in the fee structure is a "bid to loot" them.
Meanwhile, justifying the government's stance in increasing the fee for MBBS courses in the state, the Punjab Minister for Medical Education and Research Om Prakash Soni recently said that the fee hike of over 77 per cent, is totally reasonable.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that MBBS students seeking admission in Punjab based medical colleges will now have to pay skyrocketed fee structure as the Punjab cabinet had given its nod to increase the course fees in government and private medical institutes in the state.
The said decision has apparently been taken keeping in view of the fact that the fee for the MBBS course in the state for Government Medical Colleges was last notified in 2015 and for Private Medical Colleges in 2014. With the massive surge in the price index in the years thereafter, these medical colleges are facing monetary hardships and are unable to meet the norms of Medical Council of India (MCI), thus they urged for a fee hike.
Considering their plea, the MBBS fee hike was announced as per which, the fee for the full five-year course in government-run medical colleges from this session will be Rs 7.8 lakh from Rs 4.4 lakh previously (an increase of around 80%). In private medical colleges, the fee for government quota seats has been hiked from Rs 13.4 lakh to Rs 18 lakh (35% increase) for the course. For management quota, the fee is now Rs 47 lakh instead of Rs 40.3 lakh (around 17% increase).
However, the decision to increase the MBBS fee by nearly 77 percent drew severe condemnation.
Protesting against the same, 1,000 medical students, interns, senior residents and faculty of Government Medical College (GMC), Amritsar, wore 'black badges' on Wednesday while workers of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) gheraoed medical education minister OP Soni's residence on June 3rd.
Gheraod the residence of cabinet minister OP Soni in Amritsar against punjab govts decision of 80% fee hike for MBBS medical degree.— Gurpartap Singh Sandhu (@Gurpartap008) June 3, 2020
Its a shame that @capt_amarinder govt is putting the burden of filling public exhequer on medical students.@JarnailSinghAAP @BhagwantMann pic.twitter.com/KKFQDunkdr
MLA Meet Hayer dismissed the Government's take for the steep rise in fee, alleging that the state government had 'debarred' students from humble backgrounds from becoming doctors by effecting a huge fee hike in government medical colleges of the state.
As per a media report in The Indian Express, it was demanded that a commission should be set up under the watch of a sitting Judge of High Court to look into the ongoing 'loot' of medical students in Punjab, by bringing out a white paper on the fee fixed and charged from students of MBBS, BDS, MD / MS, and Nursing Colleges since 2013.
Speaking to HT, Amritsar Medical Student Association president Dr Vaibhav Chawla stressed, "The government had earlier hiked the MBBS fee by 160% in 2015 and now it has announced another 80% hike. The fee of MBBS courses in Punjab is already the highest in India. It is around 55% higher than other states. Non-meritorious students from rich families will now get admission."
Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) is up in arms against fee hike 4 medical education in Punjab, association held protests against govt move by putting black badges, paramedical, health worker union also supported protests, MBBS fee hike by 77% in Punjab @Sandhwan pic.twitter.com/68FWAUObev— Neel Kamal (@NeelkamalTOI) June 3, 2020
Now, in response to the said backlash and threats of intensified protests if the decision not rolled back soon, the Medical Education Minister Soni stated that the fee hike is reasonable. "Punjab government had earlier revised the fees of medical colleges in 2010 and 2015 which was much higher than the current increase. He said that the opposition parties are making statements on the fee hike only for political gain," he said.
He said that the previous SAD-BJP government during its tenure had increased the fees by 98% in 2010 and 225% in 2015 whereas the present government has increased it by only 77%.
He said that the increase in fees was much needed and in this regard, the Punjab government had asked the Advisory Committee on Medical Education headed by Dr K.K Talwar to examine the matter and after thorough scrutiny, the Department had recommended the Punjab Government to increase the fees. Apart from this, it also came to the notice of the Government that due to the inflation the burden on the Government Colleges had increased many folds.
Speaking to UNI, he pointed out that the state government spends at least Rs. 13-14 lakh per annum on the education of a single doctor. He said that the fee for the entire course of MBBS in private health institution was many times higher than that of government medical colleges and the government had taken several steps to bring uniformity in the fees of these private health institutions.
Mr Soni said that the students in the Government Medical College would now complete four and a half year MBBS course at a total cost of Rs. 7.80 lakh as the annual fee of MBBS has been increased only to Rs. 1.50 lakh in the first year.
He further said that before this private health institution used to charge the fee for the entire course of MBBS of five years which was rectified by our government and these medical colleges was restricted to charge a fee of four and a half years only.
It was stated that the state government has taken steps to ensure that poor students get a quality education. He said that SC scholarship scheme is being run by the government, which will enable poor students to realize their dream of becoming doctors in future.
He said that presently there were three government medical colleges in the state and new medical College at Mohali will be started from next year, apart from this in next two years two new medical College will be started at Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala. He said that increased fees would be charged from the new session and the increase in fees would not have any effect on the students who were already pursuing medical education.