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Not so NEET: CET students set to lose 1,486 MBBS seats


BENGALURU: Karnataka's merit students who are counting on their Common Entrance Test (CET) score to join medical courses may lose at least 1,486 seats as private medical colleges have refused to provide seats for them this academic year. 
Till last year, private colleges signed a consensual agreement with the state government to share a percentage of seats - for which fees are highly subsidised - for CET students. This time around, colleges have refused to do so, citing the implementation of the Supreme Courtordered National Eligibility-cum Entrance Test (NEET). 
The Centre's ordinance exempts seats in government medical colleges and government seats in private medical colleges from NEET this year. Accordingly , CET scores are valid for admissions into government medical colleges and government quota seats in private medical colleges if they agree to share them. 
Sixteen government colleges have 2,200 seats and 31 private colleges, including deemed universities, have 4,745 seats. The state-run Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute has 250 seats, the highest. 
Private colleges' refusal has left CET students with fewer seats to choose from. "We can get private colleges to give us seats only if they sign a consensual ag reement," Medical Education Minister Dr Sharan Prakash Patil told ET. "To sign the agreement, private colleges want a uniform fee structure. That would make these seats expensive for merit students. We're stuck on the fee issue." 
CET students pay Rs 55,000 for a government quota medical seat in private colleges as against Rs 4.25 lakh for a management quota seat. "Giving seats to the government goes against the Supreme Court order, which states private colleges have to fill up seats through NEET.Also, CET students pay a lower fee and we will incur losses," said Dr Appaji Gowda, president of the Vokkaligara Sangha that runs the Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences. 
Manipal Hospitals chairman Dr H Sudarshan Ballal urged the government to consider scholarships and "a robust loan programme" to safeguard the interests of CET students."In the long run, we need more government colleges and more seats in existing ones." 
In all this, students like Suraj M are left hanging. Despite securing the 11th rank in the CET, he awaits his NEET results. "It is stressful, especially since NEET will be the only mode of entry into private colleges." 
NEET-1 was held on May 1 and NEET-2 is scheduled on July 24. 

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