By Rajiv Shukla
NEW DELHI : Private medical colleges are more to be
blamed for declining standard of medical studies in the
country, says newspaper sample survey.
The survey, conducted by the Times of India
correspondents says that private greed rather than SC/ST
reservation account for falling standards in medical
Citing examples of National Eligibility cum Entrance
Test (NEET) scores, the news report says that in Assam,
only 49 of the 603 students admitted were below the
cut-offs that would have been needed (from 93rd
percentile for unreserved to 74th for ST) to fill all
the seats available if merit alone mattered and all
students who qualified were willing to join.
In contrast, in Uttar Pradesh, over 2,900 of the
4,908 students admitted were below the cut-offs
calculated on the basis of merit (from 97th for
unreserved and OBC to 75th for ST). About 95% of these
students were in the private colleges in UP.
This happens because many high-scoring students from
the different categories cannot afford the exorbitant
fees charged by private medical colleges and are forced
to drop out despite merit. This allowed rich students
with scores as low as 17-18% at the 50th and 40th
percentile cut-offs to grab the seats.
The news report said it analysed details of nearly
57,000 students admitted to 409 colleges last year. The
average NEET score of students in government-controlled
seats was 448 out of 720, while scores of those admitted
on management quota seats averaged just 306.
There was an obvious difference of about 140 marks, or
close to 20 percentage points, between the average NEET
scores of admissions to over 39,000
government-controlled seats and those to the over 17,000
management and NRI quota seats in private colleges where
fees determine admission.
The conclusion of the story was that private greed and
money, not SC/ST quota, dilutes merit in medical
admissions : it is not caste-based reservation but money
that compromises merit in medical admissions.
The report says that the average score of students
admitted under the SC quota in government colleges was
398 and the overall average for SC students in all
colleges was 367, both much higher than the overall
average for private management controlled seats.
The study shows that higher the range of fees, the
lower the average NEET score of students admitted in
As a result, the NRI quota, which typically has the
highest fees, has the lowest NEET scores, a mere 221 on
The correlation between fees and NEET scores can be
seen even in government colleges, some of which have
started charging fees beyond the means of even
middle-class families. The average score of students in
government colleges where the annual fee is less than Rs
50,000, was 487, whereas for those with fees of a lakh
or more, it was 372.5.
Even with the government helping colleges fill the
high-priced seats by keeping cut-offs as low as
possible, many private colleges in Karnataka, Punjab,
Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra were in the news in 2017 for
being unable to fill NRI seats, and in some cases even
management quota seats, which forced them to slash fees.
The seats remained vacant not because there weren’t
meritorious students, but because there weren’t enough
of them willing to pay such high fees.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest beneficiaries of the
management and NRI seats are students from the
unreserved category, accounting for over 60% of these
seats (10,373 out of 17,243). OBCs account for almost
29% and SC and ST together amount to just 3%. The
average score of unreserved students getting private
seats (361.5) is less than the average score of SC
category students in government colleges (367).
PIL in Madras HC
It may be recalled that a PIL has been filed in the
Madras High Court for a direction to the State to fix
the tuition fee structure for all medical courses
offered by the Deemed Universities (DU) for 2017-18,
taking into consideration the complete financial
statements, i.e. annual returns of the DUs and their
The first bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and
Justice M Sundar, before which the PIL from Jawaharlal
Shanmugam of Tiruvanmiyur came up for hearing, included
all 10 DUs in the State as party-respondents and ordered
notice to them, returnable by July 17.
Petitioner submitted that the tuition fees fixed by
the DUs are not co-related to the actual income, i.e.
earnings of the medical college concerned and its
hospital. The huge profits made by the hospital attached
to the medical college are not taken in to account. Only
the expenses incurred by the college are reflected in
the accounts. Creating a posh and sophisticated
atmosphere inside the campus cannot be the criteria to
fix exorbitant tuition fees.
The exorbitant tuition fees running into several
lakhs of rupees charged by the private medical colleges
and DUs are beyond the reach of any common meritorious
candidate. The real merit-based admission even through
NEET would have no meaning. The very objective of the
NEET-based merit admission is getting defeated in the
context. The private medical colleges and the DUs are
operating with the sole intention to amass wealth
through black and white money generation. The DUs are
all managed by highly influential people with enormous
political clout and to perpetrate corrupt activities,