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What our medical education 'lakhs'

Last updated: 27 March, 2011
Asha Krishnaswamy, Bangalore, March 27, DHNS : 10:05 IST

A heart, the plight of a parent from Manipur tells us

The need for an institution to monitor fee structure in unaided professional colleges is underlined by the ordeal faced by a medical student and her father who faced a demand for a hefty sum from a private medical college in the State, even after paying a hefty donation to get a seat.

Dr K Kala Singh of Manipur has complained to the Medical Council of India (MCI) that the college, Adichunchanagiri Institute of Medical Sciences in Mandya District was demanding Rs 14 lakh for providing internship to his daughter, Victoria Kshetrimayum who had completed the course by paying a total of Rs 36 lakh.

In his complaint dated March 2 this year to the MCI, Dr Singh said Victoria was admitted to the college on July 22, 2006. The seat was secured through brokers Aleyamma Chako and Shahib Mathew of Christ Education and Charitable Trust, Bangalore. The cost of the total package was Rs 22 lakh while the actual college fee was Rs 2,90,000.

Singh said he paid a capitation fee of Rs 26 lakh. Before the beginning of the final examination in December 2010, the college demanded that he pay an additional Rs 10 lakh. The college refused to issue exam admission card to his daughter unless the money was paid.

“I had no means to get this huge amount. I had sold my house and cleared Rs 10 lakh on November 29, in addition to Rs 26 lakh. Later, she was issued the admit card for the final exams. The final year result was declared on February 27. She had passed the exams inspite of mental disturbances and torture by the college authorities.”

He alleged that the college is again demanding Rs 14 lakh more in addition to Rs 36 lakh already paid. The regular posting of the students for internship had already been announced March 1 onwards. But his daughter got no posting, forcing him to approach the MCI.

The letter of Singh, who is working as a surgeon in Imphal, Manipur, was referred by Dr Davinder Kumar, Joint Secretary, MCI, New Delhi to the Justice B Padmaraj Committee, the one-man fee regulatory committee constituted to draft fee structure for unaided professional colleges. The panel has no jurisdiction over the fee collected by professional colleges and it has conveyed the position to the MCI.

Binding on the govt

According to the government notification of May 24, 2010, the fee committee recommendation is binding on the colleges for a period of four years and any revision is permissible only after four years. The panel submitted its report to the government on March 7. The recommendation of the panel are to implemented from academic year 2011-12.

On receipt of the report, Higher Education Minister V S Acharya said the government would go for a consensual fee structure with the unaided college managements. The government has not made public the fee structure/s recommended by the Padmaraj panel. The reasons for setting aside the report is not known.

Incomplete

However, Madan Gopal, Principal Secretary, Higher Education Department said that neither he nor Vittal Murthy, Principal Secretary, Medical Education Department, both members of the committe, had signed the report.

“I was out of town and Murthy was in Belgaum. The report has been submitted without our signature, and hence it is incomplete,” he said.

The government has scrapped the regulatory committee headed by former vice chancellor N R Shetty that was set up following a Supreme Court order to redress the grievances of students admitted to medical, dental and engineering colleges.

Shetty said: “Complaints such as the one filed by Victoria could have been addressed by the regulatory committee. But now there is no body to hear the grievances. The consensual agreement is drawn by keeping in abeyance a legislation.

Every year the government is going before the Supreme Court to get the consensual agreement approved. I do not know how the law department is allowing this. In the bargain, poor and meritorious students are getting affected”.

VIctoria’s father Singh said that he has told the college management that he can’t pay any more money. “After all the fight I put up, my daughter is now allowed to do internship”, he said.

Principal unaware

Adichunchanagiri Medical College Principal Dr Shivaram said that he was not aware of the agreement reached between the college management and Victoria’s father four-and-half years ago when the seat was allotted. So, he can’t comment on the fee issue.
He, however, said the student is pursuing her studies at the college.

“There is no irregularity. She is studying well. Her father must have filed the complaint in a fit of rage.”

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