This year Indian government created a big confusion on the implementation of NEET. Finally after the order of honourable Supreme Court and various ordinances/Bills (which involved lot of politics) passed by the Indian government, the following implementations were introduced regarding the admission of students in medical colleges in India:
1. All private medical colleges in India would grant admission to MBBS and BDS courses via NEET score which is a centralised entrance exam to select students for medical courses in India. They can't conduct their own entrance exams.
2. All government medical colleges in India will also accept NEET score with only exception given for this year i.e. for States to use their own entrance exams. But from next year (2017) all government medical colleges will have to accept NEET scores only and they can't conduct their own medical entrance exams.
*Only exception here are AIIMS and JIPMER who do not come under this law and will continue to conduct their own entrance exams (on their own discretion) in the coming years.
3. Every centralised govt. or State govt. college in India (except institutions in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Jammu & Kashmir) has to allocate their 15% of total seats for all India students (irrespective of states), and such 15% seats in each government college will be filled by a centralised counselling process, to be conducted by Director general Health Services, MCI in NEET centralised counselling process. For the rest 85%, govt. medical colleges can fill seats via State counselling process where students from only the home state would be eligible to take admission.
After lot of hue and cry, NEET exam was conducted in two phases - NEET 1 & NEET 2. And students felt that now the problem is over and there is a transparent process to get a medical seat in India.
But as soon as the NEET results were announced on 16th August 2016, students started to panic and had no clue on the admission counselling process.
There existed following confusions:
1. How will NEET conduct 15% all India Quota counselling process ?
2. How will private medical colleges grant admission via NEET scores? Will it be via centralised counselling or via State counselling or some consortium counselling like COMEDK etc. ?
3. How will the NRI quota seats be filled ?
4. Does private medical college still have management quota seats ? Can they still take admission via donation ?
5. How will 85% State quota seats be filled ?
6. As NEET centralised counseling process for 15% All India Quota was made online for the first time, students had no clue about how to participate in it ?
After all of this, students have began to see the true face of private medical colleges. As private medical colleges across India started to release their notifications for separate admission counselling process via NEET scores, students were shocked to see the fees of medical courses. Please see it below yourself:
- NIMS, Jaipur - Rs. 25 lacs per annum (that is almost 1.10 Cr for complete MBBS course)
- DY Patil Medical College - Rs. 16 lacs per annum
- Manipal - Rs. 9.19 lacs per annum
Most of the private medical colleges have doubled their fees this year and minimum fees starting in any private medical college is Rs. 5.5 lacs per annum. Please note hostel, fooding, books etc fees is non inclusive.
How would a student from low income or even mid income family be able to pay such hefty fees ?
How did private medical colleges take advantage of the loopholes in the NEET implementation process ?
1. As there was no fees cap implemented by SC or government, private medical college increased their fees to such a level where meritorious students who have scored high in NEET won't be able to take admission. This will ensure that the cut-off is decreased and the seats are offered to students who belong to high income families (who are not so good in studies and have scored less marks in NEET exam) who can pay such hefty fees. With this we can expect what quality of doctors will be produced by these private medical colleges.
Moreover meritorious students who have somehow not been able to get a government medical college stand no where now. So the entire motive of SC and government to put in place a common entrance exam like NEET which will help to improve the quality of doctors went in drain. Overall there was no meaning or change by implementing NEET and its complete failure to bring any change in the medical college admission process.
2. There is no clarity on NRI quota process - whether colleges can take NRI students without NEET or not ? Thus private medical colleges have increased their NRI quota seats and started taking students even without NEET scores at a much higher fees (Approx. 35-50 lacs per annum).
3. As there was no clarity given on admission counselling process of private medical colleges, they started to conduct their own counselling process to take admission via NEET scores. This mean that students need to apply to all private colleges separately by filling an application form which will cost them Rs. 1000-2000 per college and there are over 150 private medical college in India. With their own admission counselling process, private medical colleges will take undue advantage by creating their own laws and processes to admit students, thus creating ways to accept donation.
By the means of the forementioned ways, private medical colleges are STILL involved in profiteering, and government or Supreme Court have been able to do nothing about it. Doing business is good but being greedy is bad, and specially when you are involved in creating future doctors of our country.
Even post implementation of a single medical entrance exam we see no change in the way private medical colleges conduct their admission process. This is not fair and transparent. Medical students have continued to face such issues from the past 5 years.
I do say that implementing NEET is a good thing but government needs to implement following two processes in addition to NEET:
1. Put a fee cap on private medical colleges - This could be segregated based on the category of the medical college. An agency should rate private medical colleges, and different categories of colleges should have different course fees cap structures. This will regulate the fees structure in private colleges.
2. Create an All India centralised admission counselling process for all private medical colleges or at least have a state wise common admission counselling process for all the private medical colleges, thus ensuring a transparent admission process.
If government is really serious about creating quality doctors in our country, it needs to consider taking corrective measures on this matter on a priority basis.
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