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Neet Lobbying by prvt medical colleges to thrive on NRI quota


VIJAYAWADA: The all-powerful private medical colleges managements now began pulling strings to let the Neet be not a hindrance to their roaring business by way of literally selling medical seats in the open market. As an initial move, the Andhra Pradesh Private Medical Colleges Managements Association got health minister Kamineni Srinivas to hold a meeting with its representatives here on Thursday to thrash out certain impediments caused by the union government's ordinance over medical admissions through the Neet under management quota (C-category). The minister, according to sources, took a break from the Collectors conference, which was underway, to meet the management representatives of private medical colleges. Sources from the minister's office said the meeting failed to find a solution to the Neet-induced issues and that the minister reportedly promised to address them within two-three days by taking them up with the union health minister Jagath Prakash Nadda.
The ordinance insists on entertaining admissions under both Categories -A and B only through the second phase of Neet, phasing out the NRI quota. In fact, it is only the NRI quota which is the mainstay for the business prospects of private medical colleges as each seat under the quota is permitted to be sold for a price ranging up to Rs 2.5cr by the government. The quota with 310 seats means a business of Rs 500cr every year.
But the ordinance seeks to look at the NRI quota the other way round. It allegedly turned out to be a big racket and a notorious fraud with hardly any student with NRI background admitted under the quota. Allegations are galore that the NRI quota is a euphemism for collection of capitation fee which was banned the government. As per the guidelines, the seats under the quota should be filled with NRIs as a first preference followed by their dependents and those sponsored by them. According to Medical Council of India (MCI) former member C L Venkata Rao, it has become so fraudulent that there are not more than 2 per cent of NRIs out of 310 seats under the quota in the State.
The government through the ordinance is understood to have decided to let merit prevail with respect to 15 per cent of the NRI quota with the admissions through Neet only by doing away with the practice of private medical colleges to fill those seats at their will with only money as a criterion. However, the managements of private medical colleges contend that admissions through two different streams in a single class with different exam patterns and syllabi amount to subjecting the students to denial of equal opportunities. It may be recalled that the private medical colleges are bound to fill the B-category seats also through the Neet=based ranking along with those under A-category based on Eamcet ranking.
Uncertainty, according to the managements association, also prevails over the fate of fee structure presently in force for the B-category seats because of admissions through the Neet. When the Admission fee regulatory Committee (AFRC) allowed the private medical colleges to collect Rs 55 lakh for the five year bachelor degree under the B-category, the ordinance on Neet however is said to be mum on the fate of existing fee structure. Besides, the fee structure under the particular category varies from the state to the state with no parity. In Telangana, for instance, it remains at Rs 45 lakh. A leader from the association on condition of anonymity said private medical colleges would become unviable if the present fee structure is not maintained in line with the AFRC recommendations.

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