NEW DELHI: A panel constituted by the University Grants Commission to regulate high fee in private medical colleges in the country has asked deemed institutions offering MBBS degrees for details of total income and expenditure.
The details shared by the deemed medical colleges — there are nearly 60 such institutions with the highest fee structure — will then be assessed by the panel in a meeting next month.
The move is being seen as the first step towards bringing private medical colleges under a fee regulatory framework.
The panel was formed by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, director R C Deka last year at the behest of the Madras High Court. The Supreme Court, however, had given a stay order on the committee on a petition filed by some private colleges.
The stay was later partially removed and the panel has been asked to prepare its report and recommendations which will then be submitted to the apex court before a final decision is taken.
Sources in the committee told this newspaper that it held its first meeting last month in which representatives of some private institutes were also called to participate and present their views.
“There has been a long growing concern about medical education being unaffordable for a large number of students and therefore we need to understand the whole economics behind it before coming up with our suggestions,” a source explained. “We want to understand how much money do the deemed institutes, which are autonomous and not affiliated to any university, make and how much do they spend on training doctors.”
This is the first time a central panel is directly intervening to introduce fee controlling measures in medical colleges.
In June last year, Lucknow’s Era Medical College had stirred controversy, which had led to social media outrage, after it announced a fee of Rs 1.2 crore for each MBBS seat it offered.
The first-year fee, at Rs 30 lakh, is the highest, and the fifth-year, at Rs 15 lakh, is the least expensive. The exorbitant fee at the college, which was recognised by the Medical Council of India in 2006, prompted several angry responses.
Many, including public health experts and former health bureaucrats, had flagged the issue and said the government is allowing “unabashed sale” of the seats in a country that is crippled with acute shortage of doctors.