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AAP.Opposes Punjab govt’s move to hike fee under pressure from medical education mafia

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | May 28, 2020 05:51 PM

CHANDIGARH: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab has vehemently opposed the Congress government's decision to making  medical education costly by 77 per cent, alleging that, like the previous Badal government, Capt Amarinder Singh, too, had been playing into the hands of the medical education mafia active in the state. It has also demanded setting up of a commission under the watch of a sitting Judge of High Court to look into the ongoing wanton ‘loot’ of medical students in Punjab, by bringing out a white paper on the fee fixed and charged from students of MBBS, BDS, MD / MS and Nursing Colleges since 2013.

In a joint statement issued from party headquarters on Thursday, state core committee chairman Principal Budhram, chief spokesperson Prof. Baljinder Kaur and Meet Hayer (All MLAs) said that Punjab Cabinet under the leadership of Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh had increased the fees of medical students by 77 per cent, thus making medical education in Punjab more expensive than any other state of the country.

The AAP leaders lamented that Punjab government had overlooked and ignored the importance of doctors, especially in the ongoing big battle against Covid-a9 epidemic. They added that there was no denying that to making healthcare better and accessible to the common man, it was imperative that medical education was made affordable so that more and more qualified doctors were trained, thereby ending up the mammoth staff crunch of medics in the state hospitals.

Principal Budh Ram on the occasion said that why would a medic from a family with humble means, who had to shell out a whopping amount of more than Rs. 2 crore as fees for 9 years on his/ her higher medical education, offer his services on shoestring salaries fixed by state Health Department, while hundreds of deserving students from ordinary families were deprived of medical education due to sky-high fees. He urged that the government should reconsider its decision and make the fees of government and private medical dental and nursing colleges in the state within the reach of the deserving students belong to humble backgrounds.

Prof. Baljinder Kaur and Meet Hayer,   out-rightly brushing aside the argument of Medical Education Minister OP Soni, saying the proposed hike was being effected after a period of 6 years, said that the ruling Congress government holding the fort in the state had been in cahoots with the medical education mafia, like the previous Badal government, leaving a vast majority of future medics rue and rant in resignation.

The AAP leaders said that as per the Supreme Court of India guidelines, a hike in fee not more than by 15 per cent after three years was permissible, adding that in spite of the apex court’s directions, the previous Badal government had first hiked the fee of MBBS per student from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 30 lakh on July 30, 2013 and then on March 7, 2014, further hiking it from Rs 30 lakh to Rs 40 lakh. They added that when the Congress, which came to power in 2017, chose to maintain a stoic silence over the nexus between the Badal government's and the medical education mafia, and further increased it by 77 per cent on the pretext that it was being hiked after six years, thus making it the most expensive in the country.

Elaborating more on the expensive medical education, the AAP legislators said, even if the fee hike since 2013 had been effected by  15 per cent every three years under the Supreme Court’s guidelines, by 2022, the fee would have gone up to a maximum of Rs 27 lakh (management quota), which now stood at Rs 47 lakh.

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