80% hike in MBBS fee: Medical education in Punjab is already costliest in region

Accusing the Punjab government of apathy, Indian Medical Association said the steep fee hike will cause scarcity of medical professionals, and make both medical education as well as access to healthcare services out of reach of the common man
By Harmandeep Singh, Patiala
PUBLISHED ON MAY 29, 2020 10:29 PM IST

The Punjab cabinet’s decision to hike the fee for MBBS course by 80% has added additional burden on medical aspirants, who are already being made to pay much more than their counterparts studying in government institutes in neighbouring states.

With the course fee set to go up from Rs 4.4 lakh to Rs 7.8 lakh after the May 27 decision, the medical fraternity has condemned the move, even as medical education minister OP Soni justified it, stating, “The government spends around Rs 35 lakh to make a doctor. Therefore Rs 7.8 lakh is not a big amount for the entire course.”

According to fee slips of various government medical colleges this year, MBBS students have paid an annual fee of around Rs 23,000 in Chandigarh, Rs 52,000 in Haryana , Rs 60,000 in Himachal Pradesh and Rs 1 lakh in Punjab, the already existing disparity being 66% to 300%.

CABINET MOVE CONDEMNED

Accusing the Punjab government of apathy, Indian Medical Association, Punjab, president Dr Navjot Singh Dahiya said the fee hike of such a magnitude will cause scarcity of medical professionals, and make both medical education as well as access to healthcare services out of reach of the common man.

“While the whole world is passing through the Covid-19 pandemic and there is an emergent need to promote medical education and research, the exorbitant hike in fee for medical students would hinder parents to get their wards to go for the expensive medical courses,” he said, in a joint statement along with Dr Paramjit Mann, general secretary, IMA, Punjab, while demanding an immediate rollback of the hike.

The state government’s decision, in fact, comes at a time when there is a demand for complete waiver of fee for junior resident doctors and hike in their stipend. Dr Nitin Chabra, president, Resident Doctors Association, Government Medical College, Patiala, said: “MBBS students in Punjab are already paying much more than those in neighbouring states and Chandigarh. We will not accept the 80% fee hike and will fight the decision. We demand the state government immediately withdrawn it.”

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