At a time when the Russia-Ukraine war put the spotlight on the demand-supply gap in medical courses in India owing to the number of Indian students who were forced to return from Ukraine, as many as 2,800 management quota undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) medical and dental seats are lying vacant in various private medical and dental colleges across the State.
In the academic year 2021-22, there was no demand for 700 MBBS seats under management quota. The Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) has completed its seat allotment process and surrendered unfilled seats to the private medical colleges concerned.
Karnataka has got 14,305 medical seats, including 10,260 UG and 4,045 PG seats. KEA is the seat allotment authority in the State and has successfully completed four rounds of seat allotment, including the mop-up round. After the final allotment, 700 UG medical and 1,300 dental, and 600 PG medical and 200 PG dental seats remained unfilled.
Lack of job opportunities is cited as one of the reasons for low demand for dental courses, as every year, thousands of dental seats have remained vacant. In 2020-21 too, around 1,200 management quota BDS and MDS seats remained vacant, while 2021-22, 1,300 BDS and 200 MDS seats were vacant.
The high fees of management quota seats is also a deterrent. Sources said on an average, private medical colleges fix ₹40 lakh to ₹50 lakh as the fee for each MBBS seat and fees in the topmost colleges can go up to ₹80 lakh. The fees for PG medical seats can cost over ₹1 crore, which explains why 600 PG medical seats were vacant.
The high fees is also what was cited by many students as the reason they chose to pursue medical education in countries outside India, such as Ukraine, Poland, and Kyrgyzstan.
Raksha, a student from Bengaluru, told The Hindu, “I am planning to do my medical education in any country which is affordable. So, I am waiting for II PU results and NEET. I will decide based on my NEET rank.”
M.R. Jayaram, Honorary Secretary of Karnataka Private Medical and Dental Colleges Association, said: “Because of the high fees, management quota medical and dental seats remain vacant in some private medical colleges. Colleges should fix affordable fees for students on the basis of infrastructure, quality of education, and facilities. Then, students will opt for them.”
Private medical colleges ready to reserve 50% govt quota seats, but want fee hike
Private medical colleges and deemed to be medical universities of the State are ready to reserve 50% of seats as government quota seats and fix the government prescribed fees for those seats from the academic year of 2022-23, which is proposed by National Medical Commission (NMC) on February 3, 2022. But, the managements are demanding a fee hike.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) conducts the ‘National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET)’ for selection of candidates for medical courses on the basis of ranks. But the medical seat sharing and fee fixation differs in each State.
In Karnataka, the medical seat ratio between government and private medical colleges and deemed to be universities is 40:60. But, some deemed to be universities and minority community management colleges do not follow the government proposal and convert all those seats int0 management quota seats and sell them at higher prices.
Now, the fee structure is ₹59,580 in government medical colleges and ₹49,850 in dental colleges per annum. In private and deemed to be medical colleges, government quota seats cost ₹1,41,196 and the management quota fees is from ₹32 lakh to ₹65 lakh per annum. For dental courses, the government quota seats fees is ₹95,808 and the total management quota fees goes for around ₹3 lakh to ₹10 lakh per annum.
To avoid capitation fee and provide affordable medical education to all the students, NMC has released the guidelines for determination of fees in all the medical colleges, based on the National Medical Commission Act-2019.
According to this act, the fee of the 50% seats in the private medical colleges, deemed to be universities should be on a par with the fees in government medical colleges of that particular State and Union Territory.
After the guidelines were released by the NMC, private medical colleges and deemed to be medical universities called a meeting and decided to reserve 50% seats as government quota seats.
M.R. Jayaram, Honorary Secretary of Karnataka Private Medical and Dental Colleges Association, told The Hindu: “We are ready to accept the NMC proposal and decided to reserve the 50% of the medical seats as government quota seats. We are waiting for the official order by the Central government in this regard. But, we are not satisfactory with the existing fee structure for the government quota seats. It should be revised at any cost. Otherwise, it is highly impossible to run medical colleges. So, we will request and submit the proposal to the government to hike the government quota medical seats fee.”