D K Shivakumar hints fee hike in govt medical colleges

D K Shivakumar hints fee hike in govt medical colleges

Medical Education Minister D K Shivakumar enquirers with doctors at Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences, Hubballi on Saturday regarding the health of a patient. DH Photo

Medical Education Minister D K Shivakumar said the government is contemplating of hiking medical course fee at government colleges and make compulsory rural service for students who opt for free medical seats.

Speaking to media persons after chairing a review meeting at Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) in Hubballi on Saturday he said, the government is spending approximately Rs 10 lakh on the education of each medical student. On the other hand, the students are paying a fee of only Rs16000 plus per year. "Compared to the fee structure of private colleges, the fee structure of government colleges is reasonably less," he said. A student who wishes to study medicine at government colleges can pay more for his studies," he said.

Currently, of the Rs 16,000 fee a student pays, the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bengaluru collects Rs 9,000 and the medical colleges are left with very little funds for programme enhancement. The fee hike is intended to make these colleges financially independent and not to fill the coffers of government, he said.

Rural services

Based on the inputs received at the meeting Shivakumar said he would consider making compulsory rural service for MBBS students who get free medical seats. "Government is not interested in levying monetary fines on students. That method has failed to give desired results and is also being contested in court. So, we will look into the Maharashtra model, where the doctors will not get their permanent registration number without serving for certain period of time in rural areas,” he said and added that this would address the 70%-75% vacancy of doctors in the rural area.

Video recording

He also instructed all the government hospitals and medical colleges to video record its moveable and non-moveable assets. A detailed report of the number of equipments purchased and present condition of the same should be submitted to the government soon, based on which an audit will be held, he said. These instructions came after it was brought to his notice that equipments and hospital properties were being ‘stolen’. Recently, huge cache of equipments worth lakhs were found in one of medical officers house in Hubballi. “There is a need to fix accountability on the hospital property and this record will make sure that equipments don’t go missing,” he said.

Cauvery issue

Shivakumar, who also holds the Water Resources Ministry, said the Central government has succumbed to pressure from Tamil Nadu and notified the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA). “Though our chief minister H D Kumaraswamy had consulted with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over holding a widespread consultation over constituting CWMA, the Union government went ahead with it unilaterally,” he said and added that the State government would take a legal course to fight this injustice.