After sitting on a proposed amendment to fix the issue for a year, the Punjab Government has formed yet another committee to “study the problems of fee structure of private medical colleges” — in effect once again closing the doors of private medical colleges for several meritorious aspirants because of the high fee structure.
Before the Congress came to power in 2017, medical admissions were carried out under The Punjab Private Health Sciences Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission, Fixation of Fee and Making of Reservation) Act, 2006. Under the legislation, at least 50 per cent MBBS and BDS seats in private colleges were filled by the government and the fee for the entire course used to be around Rs 13 lakh.
Bypassing the Act and a Supreme Court judgment, the Congress government surrendered its right of determining the fee for 50 per cent seats. The outcome was that last year (2018-19), Adesh Medical College, Bathinda; Christian Medical College, Ludhiana; and Sri Guru Ram Das Medical College, Amritsar, charged Rs 50-70 lakh for the five-year course.
After drawing flak, the government claimed it would regulate the fee structure. It first spoke of bringing in an ordinance (which has a validity of six months), but did not. Then the department was asked to prepare a draft to amend the Act, but despite the Advocate General’s clearance in September last year, it was not brought before the Cabinet or in the Vidhan Sabha.