With the introduction of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) throughout the country, the private medical colleges in West Bengal will find it extremely difficult to thrive if they do not get any grant from the government.
If the existence of these private medical colleges is at stake, then the Center’s aim to produce more doctors across the country may suffer a stumbling block as huge number of doctors passes out from these private institutions every year.
People who have worked at private hospitals since many years and have knowledge on how these private medical colleges function said that once these medical colleges will start admitting candidates through NEET, they will not be able admit candidates on their own as it has been a practice here in the state for quite a long time.
These private medical colleges till now enjoying the freedom of admitting candidates in exchange of huge amount of money as donation or development fees may face financial constraints after the NEET is introduced.
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 od Dental Sciences and Research in Panihati and Haldia Institute of Dental Sciences and Research in Haldia.
The private medical colleges admit 33 per cent of the total candidates from the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examinations as recommended by the state government while in the rest 77 per cent of the seats the colleges admit candidates under management and NRI quota seats against which the college authorities receives huge amount of money as development fees or donations.
The state government has fixed a fees structure for the candidates getting admission under management quota and through joint entrance examinations.
As per the fee structure, the candidates coming through joint entrance examinations have to pay less amount of course fees while the management quota students pay anything around 25-31 lakh.
Though, the most of the private colleges generally receive a hefty amount of money from the candidates as capitation or development fees. In case of NRI students the colleges get huge amount much higher than what they receive in case of management quota students. Students who get admission in these colleges under management and NRI quota do not require appearing in the joint entrance examinations.
A senior official of a private medical college said that as there was no government grants the private medical colleges have to mainly depend on their earnings to meet their huge establishment costs.
According to the Medical Council of India, there must be 20-25 acre land to set up a medical college requiring 1,400-1,500 staff members.
There must be 150-170 teachers, around 80 interns and 70 house staff to run a medical college. According to the norms there should be 35 RMOs against 100 bends. For running a smooth infrastructure these private medical colleges require huge amount of money.
If the private medical college authorities are not allowed to collect the development fees or high capitation fees from the students they would not be able to smooth run the medical colleges.
Private medical colleges in the state and outside may face challenges following the introduction of NEET, the official said.
But once the NEET gets started the private colleges will lose their control over the admission of candidates. The Centre owned body will conduct the examination and according to their will the candidates will be admitted here.
If the college authorities demand a huge amount as donation the students will not be ready to provide it as they would know that their seats are secured.
When asked about the issue, M Homray the former in-charge of students section in the National Medical College and Hospital said: “It would be difficult for the private medical colleges to thrive without hefty donation. The College authorities should provide bills for the amount paid by the students.
Once the NEET is enforced it will be difficult to run the private colleges without subsidy.”