BENGALURU: The state government is considering increasing the annual fees for medical courses in government colleges by almost 200 per cent. This information was provided by Medical Education Minister D K Shivakumar to the Legislative Council during the ongoing winter session in Belagavi.
He said the government is considering increasing the annual 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 will mean 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.
Besides, the minister said that the government is considering providing admission to Non-Resident Indian (NRI) students at state government medical colleges from the academic year 2019-20. Shivakumar revealed this in the House while replying to a question from MLC S V Sankanur during Question Hour. He added, “The move to consider NRI quota in government colleges is a major decision.”
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 has not been extended to employees of government medical colleges and we need to do it,” he said.
Students oppose move
The minister’s proposal to increase the fee and also to admit NRI students has been met with opposition from students and other stakeholders. According to faculty members, it is not a good move. 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 reduce the number of seats at government colleges made available to general category students.” Gautham Balaji, member of Indian Medical Association (Karnataka branch), 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.”