Published: 25th March 2023
Why this parent from Rajasthan feels the need for Right to Affordable Fees Bill for medical students
The parents, students and experts are worried about the state of medical education, which demands high fees
With an uproar over the Right to Health Bill raging in Rajasthan, a parent demands that a Right to Affordable Fees Bill should be introduced for upcoming doctors instead. Kalyan Singh, a concerned parent, who has been raising his voice against the high fees in the government medical colleges in the state, refuses to let the issue be forgotten.
The parents, students and medical experts from the state have been raising their voices against the conversion of fees and imposition of high fees. "We have organised protests, sent representations, and about 500 students have filed writ petitions in the High Court as well, but we haven't received any relief or response yet," the parent tells. To point out a few instances, the students held a massive protest in 2017, which lasted for about a month. According to Kalyan Singh, they have been raising this issue in every budget session as well. And in December 2022, Ankit Roat, a medical student from Government College, Jhalawar, met Rahul Gandhi during the Bharat Jodo Yatra in the state and submitted a representation on the matter.
Agitated, today, March 25, he has called for the support of all the doctors in Rajasthan in his demand for the Right to Affordable Fees Bill. "The treatment is being made free but an MBBS degree is expensive. The government has announced that a medical college will come up in every district. But if studying in them becomes unaffordable, then what's the use?" he questions.
"The high fees are not only a burden on the parents but students as well," he tells. Explaining his demand for the Right to Affordable Fess Bill, Singh says, "At present, the fee regulatory committee set up by the government has no representative from our side. It is the government officials who decide everything. Even if they increase the fee to Rs 20 lakh now, we cannot do anything about it. There is no one in the committee to oppose this." He thus feels that the government should understand their problem and fix an Act which guarantees affordable fees, just like it has fixed affordable treatment.
The parent then goes on to explain why the fee in medical colleges is a big issue in Rajasthan. "It is the only state which offers such a high percentage of management quota seats to the students. If they are regulated as government colleges, the fees should be regulated accordingly," Singh said.
Thirty-five per cent of the State Quota seats were converted into Management Quota seats in all the government medical colleges of the state in 2017. As a result, the State Quota seats were reduced to thirty-five per cent, and after they are filled, students have no choice but to opt for Management Quota seats. "The fee for State Quota seats is Rs 50,000, whereas it is Rs 7.5 lakh for the Management quota seats. This is discrimination," Singh says.
Dr Rakesh Bagdi Gurjar, a member of the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) from the state says, "The students' welfare should be looked after. Their education should be made free." Meanwhile, Dr Vinod Bagra, President of the All Rajasthan MBBS Doctors' Association (ARMDA), adds, "We need to regulate the fees immediately."