Published: 25th May 2017
You got money? Any college, medical seat available: Tamil Nadu's medical seat touts offer pre-booking for seats at Rs 1 crore despite NEET, demonetisation
Thought that medical seats can't be bought anymore? Clearly tempest touts posing as potential customers didn't think so. Read how ridiculously simple it is to pre-book a medical seat
One of the most reiterated arguments in defence of the NEET exam was that it would be a great leveller, that it would provide an equal platform to students across the country to get their seats "fairly". Besides NEET, many even pointed out that demonetisation would disable colleges from collecting donations and outrageous capitation fees.
In an earlier interview with EdexLive, when MHRD Minister Prakash Javadekar was asked about the impact of demonetisation on admissions, he said, "Demonetisation has helped the sector by practically ensuring that people cannot pay large amounts of cash for seats. We will see it in this academic season. NEET negates the capitation fee."
Well, guess what? The touts and agents who are hawking medical seats in Tamil Nadu don't seem to have got either memo.
After we made a series of calls to these 'seat agents', posing as concerned parents and friends of prospective medical students - we realised that their confidence in arranging a medical seat for a student, even if they had 'just passed' by the tiniest of slivers, was sky high.
Medical seats? They're only One Call Away
Here's the stark reality. Seats in private medical colleges, and Tamil Nadu has one of the highest numbers in the country, are being pre-sold for anywhere between Rs 20 lakhs to one crore. Understandably, the bottom end figure of 20 lakh is often jus thrown around to keep you from being intimidated by the numbers. Anything in the city of Chennai will, according to them, cost at least Rs 45-60 lakh. Pre-sold how? Some of these seats are getting sold even before the NEET results are published on June 7.
And how do we find these murky agents who operate in large amounts of cash to secure medical college admissions? Like the answer to most other crises in life, here too it comes down to try power of the Internet. A simple search on Facebook throws up several phone numbers of people who "promise" medical seats at affordable prices and are only a call or WhatsApp message away.
NEET? Problem illa. Money irukka?
When EdexLive contacted some of these individuals and enquired about the seats, they immediately responded positively and claimed that the seats could be 'booked or blocked' in any college in the city, the states and even neighbouring states. "Even if NEET scores are bad it's okay madam. We can still get a seat anywhere, you just let us know where you want," this was pretty much the standard response to all the calls.
Some of these 'seat sellers' said that even though they could promise a seat, they would still need to wait for NEET scores to be announced first. But there were a few who said they could still 'book' a seat in advance even before the results come out and that just pass marks or below average marks could still guarantee a seat. "If you have made up your mind about the R********** college, then you can book the seat there, they will need an extra booking fee though and rest of the amount can be paid after the results come," one of them said. Besides these medical offers, these touts also make sure to make you aware of the other offers they have for engineering and other streams and don't forget to remind you to tell your other friends too!
Where does the money trail lead?
For the longest of times, the union and individual state governments have tried to combat rising costs of medical education in the private sector - to keep it equitable for students across the board. In fact, the taking of capitation fees per se, under the guise of management fees or admission fees, was outlawed unequivocally. To ensure that colleges didn't jack up their tuition fees to make up for that loss, individual states capped the tuition fees.
However, colleges have found the simplest of workarounds - they can charge practically any amount with their developmental or extra fees - a number that sources tell us extend to around Rs 16-18 lakh a year in some colleges in Tamil Nadu.
Which is why it is nothing short of surprising that touts are as confident as they are - not only to ask for such huge sums of money (as cash and not transfers, because big brother is not watching) after black money was supposedly 'surgical strike-d' by the Modified administration last year.
But confident is what they are and believe their business is steady and lucrative.
Home run for capitation. Strike one for NEET.
Number game: Neither NEET nor demonetisation has hindered the business of seat agents
Colleges in Tamil Nadu (Medical Council of India website)
- ACS Medical College and Hospital, Chennai
- Annaii Medical College, Pennalur, Kanchipuram (Rajalakshmi Medical College Hospital)
- Annapoorna Medical College & Hospital, Salem
- Chengalpattu Medical College, Chengalpattu
- Chennai Medical College Hospital and research centre,Irungalur,Trichy
- Chettinad Hospital & Research Institute, Kanchipuram
- Christian Medical College, Vellore
- Coimbatore Medical College, Coimbatore
- Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Medical College and Hospital,Perambalur
- ESI-PGIMSR,ESI Hospital,K.K Nagar,Chennai
- Government Dharmapuri Medical College, Dharmapuri
- Government Medical College & ESIC Hospital, Coimbatore, TamilNadu
- Government Medical College, Omandurar
- Government Sivagangai Medical College, Sivaganga
- Government Thiruvannamalai Medical College, Thiruvannamalai
- Government Vellore Medical College, Vellore
- Government Villupuram Medical College, Villupuram
- IRT Perundurai Medical College, Perundurai
- K A P Viswanathan Government Medical College, Trichy
- KanyaKumari Government Medical College, Asaripallam
- Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Medical Sciences,Maduranthagam
- Karpagam Faculty of Medical Sciences & Research, Coimbatore
- Kilpauk Medical College, Chennai
- Madha Medical College and Hospital, Thandalam, Chennai
- Madras Medical College, Chennai
- Madurai Medical College, Madurai
- Meenakshi Medical College and Research Institute, Enathur
- Melmaruvathur Adiparasakthi Instt. Medical Sciences and Research
- Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College, Salem
- Ponnaiyah Ramajayam Institute of Medical Sciences, Manamai-Nellur
- PSG Institute of Medical Sciences, Coimbatore
- Rajah Muthiah Medical College, Annamalainagar
- Saveetha Medical College and Hospital, Kanchipuram
- Shri Satya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram
- Sree Balaji Medical College and Hospital, Chennai
- Sree Mookambika Institute of Medical Sciences, Kanyakumari
- Sri Muthukumaran Medical College,Chennai
- Sri Ramachandra Medical College & Research Institute, Chennai
- SRM Medical College Hospital & Research Centre, Kancheepuram
- Stanley Medical College, Chennai
- Tagore Medical College and Hospital, Chennai
- Thanjavur Medical College,Thanjavur
- Theni Government Medical College,Theni
- Thiruvarur Govt. Medical College, Thiruvarur
- Thoothukudi Medical College, Thoothukudi
- Tirunelveli Medical College,Tirunelveli
- Velammal Medical College Hospital and Research Institute, Madurai
- Vinayaka Missions Kirupananda Variyar Medical College, Salem.