While legislators in the state council created an uproar against the fee hike in medical colleges on Friday, the state government maintained that the hike was justified.
“The hike has come after 2003 and the amount that has been arrived at are fees that you end up paying at pre-school nowadays,” said medical education minister Rajendra Gavit, while speaking in the state council.
The decision to hike the fees by almost 120%, taken in February 2011 by the state cabinet, will be applicable to all government-run and aided medical college students from the coming academic year. The hike clause also includes a 10% rise in fees every year in all state-run medical colleges from 2012.
Fees for general medicine have been hiked from Rs18,000 per annum to Rs40,000 per annum, dental college fees have been increased from Rs15,000 to Rs 30,000 per year, Ayurvedic colleges have increased their fees from Rs7,000 to Rs15,000 per year and the fee for Unani medical courses have risen from Rs3,000 to Rs6,000.
Gavit informed the house that providing medical education to students is financially burdensome on the state.
“On an average, we spend Rs4.88 lakh on every student studying general medicine annually. We are spending Rs1.92 lakh on each dental college student and Rs1.36 lakh on each Ayurvedic college student per annum,” Gavit said.
He added that the new fee structure is modest when compared to private colleges, which charge more than Rs3 lakh annually.
“Your fee hike policy is flawed and we are not convinced by your explanation. Just because some parents can afford it, not all can,” said Congress MLC Hussain Dalwai.
MLC Kapil Patil raised concerns about students from the lower economic strata.
In response, Gavit said the state gives 100% concession to students from reserved sections, economically weaker backgrounds, from families of freedom fighters, children of government teachers and armed forces and handicapped students.