Under the Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS), 250 students from Jammu and Kashmir are supposed to be directly admitted to various medical colleges for the MBBS programme though AICTE counselling. From 2011, when the scheme was launched, till 2013, a number of private medical colleges, reportedly to get the government grant of Rs.3 lakh per candidate, had admitted the students. However, when seats in prestigious government medical colleges were allocated by AICTE to the students, most of the institutes refused to admit them saying they did not know anything about the scheme.
The sorry plight of the students seems set to be repeated this year as the Medical Council of India (MCI) had no knowledge of PMSSS. When contacted, Jayshreeben Mehta, president, MCI, said she was surprised to know that such a scheme had been in place for the last four years. “Which scheme is this? AICTE has never informed MCI about any such scheme. How can any medical institute admit students without an entrance exam? As you said that under this Prime Minister’s scheme, students are awarded scholarships to get direct admission in medical colleges. It’s not possible without MCI permission,” Mehta said.
Another MCI official, Ajay Kumar, chairman, administration and grievance committee, said, “AICTE should send us the full text of this type of arrangement, so that it can be examined and further opinion given.”
St Stephen’s norms
A prestigious college like St Stephen’s, too, needs more information on PMSSS as it insists on following its own norms while admitting students.
Last year, three students were allotted St Stephen’s College by AICTE but were refused admission. “We were not aware of the scheme at all. In fact, when some candidates came with the AICTE provisional letter, I thought it was some sort of fraud or scam to get admission in our college so (I regret to say) I had filed a complaint with the police against the candidates. Later I came to know that they had come under a genuine scheme,” said Valson Thampu, principal, St Stephen’s.
Asked if he would give admission to the students this year, Thampu said, “I have written to UGC to send not two but 10 candidates who will have to appear in our interviews and after that we will select two. We can’t do away with our selection process.”
The special selection criteria of St Stephen’s does not seem to be viable as “AICTE has to think of a second option for eight out of 10 candidates who will be rejected by St Stephen’s. It must resolve the issue before it awards provisional admission letter to candidates for admission,” says a DU official.