The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) has decided to observe February 14 as a black day to protest against the fee hike in government-run medical colleges across the state.
The state cabinet on Wednesday approved a hike in the annual fee for the MBBS course from Rs 18,000 to Rs, 45,000 a year from the 2011-2012 academic year. The minimum annual fees charged by a private medical college in Rs 4 lakh.
The hike will also hit the students studying in four ayurveda colleges and three dental colleges run by the state. The fees in Ayurveda will go up from current Rs 7,500 to 18,000 a year. “The component of development fee has also been included in the proposed hike,” said VL Dhole, deputy secretary, Medical Education and Drugs Department.
The cost of medical education for an MBBS student is about Rs 20 lakh, of which around 80 % is borne by the government, said Dr RR Shinde, professor and head, department of preventive and social medicine at KEM Hospital.
“Staying in Mumbai is expensive. There are students who eat only twice a day to save money sent by their parents. How can they afford this hike,” said Saad Shaikh, 19, a first year MBBS student at Grant Medical College.
Some professors said the hike was justified given the inflation. “The daily expenditure per patient at teaching hospitals has soared. The fees charged in government-run medical colleges is much lower than the fees charged by IIMs,” said a professor from BYL Nair Hospital and medical college.
The means to compensate for the increase in expenditure should not be only through the increased fees, reasoned some professors. “The basic concern here is how the poor students will be able to afford the burden,” said DR Shinde.
Dr Sanjay Oak, dean of KEM Hospital said that the college has not received any government regulation so far about the fee hike.
“You cannot think of medical education as a cow to be milked. I would be happy to extract services rather than the money from them,” said Oak.