As per the Supreme Court order, all private medical colleges throughout the country have to admit candidates in various undergraduate medical courses through NEET from this year.
The new system of admission has imposed restrictions on collecting exorbitant fees from various students securing admission under the non-resident Indian quota and management quota, despite having a fee structure schedule fixed by a committee appointed by the state government.
Following the introduction of NEET, these private medical colleges will no longer enjoy the privilege of admitting candidates of their own choice, as all students will have to clear NEET to secure their admission in private colleges.
They will have to pay the fees as recommended by the state government appointed committee. Previously, most of these colleges would charge hefty fees from the candidates under the quota seats. It was often alleged that undeserving candidates got admission in medical courses in private medical colleges in the state by paying exorbitant fees.
There are three private medical colleges in the state – IQ City Medical College in Durgapur, ICARE Institute of Medical Sciences and Research in Haldia, and KPC Medical College and Hospital in Jadavpur – and two private dental colleges – Gurunanak Institute of Dental Sciences and Research in Panihati, and Haldia Institute of Dental Sciences and Research in Haldia.
IQ City and KPC Medical College have 150 MBBS seats each, among which 50 are reserved for West Bengal state quota; whereas ICARE Institute of Medical Sciences and Research has 100 MBBS seats, of which 50 are state quota seats. Till last year state quota seats were filled up through Joint Entrance Examination (JEE).
A retired official in a private medical college in the state, on condition of anonymity, said that once such colleges start admitting candidates through NEET, they will be unable to admit candidates on their own as has been a practice here for quite some time.
“Private medical colleges used to enjoy the privilege of admitting candidates in exchange for huge sums of money as donation or development fees. These private colleges may face financial constraints after the introduction of the national level single entrance examination,” the official said.
It is, however, undeniably true that private medical colleges in the state produce many doctors every year, thereby contributing towards the Centre’s vision of producing 80,000 doctors by 2020 in India. If private medical colleges face an existential crisis, the Centre’s aim to produce higher number of doctors across the country may hit a stumbling block.
33 per cent of the total seats in private medical colleges are filled by admitting candidates through the West Bengal JEE, as recommended by the state government. The rest of the 67 per cent seats are filled by candidates admitted under management and NRI quota.
In private colleges, candidates admitted under state quota usually pay Rs 7.85 lakh as fees for four and half years, while candidates admitted under the management quota pay Rs 31.25 lakh. The price of the NRI quota seats is much higher. Students admitted in such colleges through the quota seats were not required to clear the state JEE.
The private colleges could also appeal to the state government to restructure the fees collected against state quota seats, as the amount is much less compared to the fees collected from other seats. If it is continued, private medical colleges and hospitals could face problems to meet huge establishment costs.
A private medical college official said that the management in private colleges should take up the issue of restructuring the fees schedule, especially after the introduction of NEET. In Tamil Nadu, the fees schedule was restructured and private medical colleges were collecting nearly Rs 80 lakh as capitation fees for the admission of each candidate.
All the government-run medical colleges in the state will admit candidates in various undergraduate medical courses through state level medical entrance examination for this year, but the private colleges have not been exempted.