Published: 19th December 2018
Soon, NRI students can study medicine in Karnataka's govt medical colleges at 'rock bottom' fees
The medical education minister's proposal to increase the fee at government medical colleges and also to admit NRI quota students has already been met with opposition from students
The state government of Karnataka is considering providing admission to Non-Resident Indians (NRI) students at state government medical colleges from the academic year 2019-20, as per the information provided by the state Medical Education Minister D K Shivakumar to the Legislative Council during the ongoing winter session at Belagavi.
Shivakumar revealed this before the house while replying to a question asked by S V Sankanur, an MLC, during the question hour. He added, "The move to consider NRI quota at government colleges is a major decision."
Students and other stakeholders have already begun opposing the state government's proposal.
A senior faculty member from Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute said, "Giving admissions under NRI quota at government colleges will do injustice to meritorious students from the state. This will decrease the number of seats at government colleges made available to general category students."
"The fee charged for NRI quota at private colleges is between Rs 25 lakh and Rs 50 lakh. When this is the case, what is the need to provide them seats at government medical colleges?" another senior professor asked.
Gautham Balaji, a member of Indian Medical Association (Karnataka branch) Junior Doctors' Association, said, "When it comes to the fee hike, it is acceptable as private colleges charge lakhs for undergraduate courses. But introducing NRI quota seats in government colleges is unacceptable. When there are NRI quotas available at private colleges through NEET, what is the need to introduce this quota at government colleges?"
A student doing his postgraduation said, "When you look at the previous years' data, at least 25 per cent of the seats under NRI quota go vacant. When this is the case, what is the need to give them quota at government colleges?"
The state government is also considering increasing the fees for medical courses in government colleges by almost 200 per cent. Shivakumar said the government is considering increasing the fee for undergraduate courses from the existing Rs 17,000 to Rs 50,000, and for post-graduate courses from the existing Rs 50,000 to Rs 3 lakh. There are 16 government medical colleges in the state.
This is going to be a 194 per cent hike and the reason given by the minister for this steep increase is to meet the fund requirements of the government colleges pertaining to the quality of education and extending the facilities to the employees at the colleges.
He further said that the Department of Medical Education had sought additional grants from the Finance Department for implementing the National Pension Scheme (NPS) for college employees recruited after 2006. "The Provident Fund scheme facility has not been extended to employees of government medical colleges and we need to do it," he said.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Shivananda S Patil requested the council members to show their support toward this move. "Support is needed to implement these two major decisions or else it will be difficult to manage government medical colleges," he said.
The medical education minister's proposal to increase the fee at government medical colleges has already been met with opposition from students and other stakeholders.
According to faculty members from government medical colleges, it is not a good move to increase the fee by a steep 200 per cent at one go.
Harsha Narayan, state secretary of Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, said, "This is an anti-student move by the government and we will hold a state-wide agitation until the government withdraws these proposals."