Despite a shortage of institutions offering the MBBS course, as many as 2,078 seats remained vacant in 83 of the country’s 417 private and government medical colleges this year.
This is a significant jump from the previous year, when such vacancies stood at a mere 28 seats.
A reply from the Medical Council of India (MCI) to an HT application filed under the Right to Information Act revealed that just 56,748 seats of the total 58,826 MBBS seats were filled — leaving as many as 2,078 seats vacant.
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Of these 83 colleges, four couldn’t fill even 15% of the sanctioned seats. For instance, only 20 students took admission at the Ruxmaniben Deepchand Gardi Medical College in Madhya Pradesh while Glocal Medical College in UP snagged a mere 21. Around 130 seats were still vacant in each college.
Many colleges in this category were newly sanctioned by the Supreme Court-appointed oversight committee (OC).
Experts say this phenomenon highlights the need to launch quality colleges instead of setting up a number of inferior institutions every year. HT recently reported that many new medical colleges lacked even basic amenities. Most colleges violate the OC’s order that the students’ list should be posted on their websites.
A senior MCI official said the data provided to HT may contain minor anomalies because some institutions were yet to submit admission details. As many as four lakh candidates cleared the National Eligibility cum Entrance Exam for admission to MBBS and BDS (bachelor of dental surgery) courses this year.
In other words, there are over six students vying for a single medical seat. Experts believe poor infrastructure and lack of qualified faculty members are the main reasons for students rejecting certain institutions.
“Good colleges are always in demand, but students reject the ones that have failed to live up to their expectations,” said Dr KK Aggarwal, president-elect of the Indian Medical Association.
MCI lawyer Gaurav Sharma cited another reason for this development.
“This year, the Supreme Court scrapped the management quota under which colleges used to demand capitation fee. Consequently, private colleges arbitrarily hiked their fees to levels that many students found unaffordable.” While the annual tuition fee previously ranged anywhere between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 10 lakh, colleges increased it by 80% to 100% this year.
According to the RTI response, 46 of the 51 new colleges submitted admission data to the MCI. Out of them, 15 had admitted only 1,448 candidates against 2,200 seats. The remaining 31 were able to fill all their seats. Fewer admissions make it difficult for colleges to meet the MCI’s minimum requirement of faculty and facilities.
“Even if a college gets just 20 students, it has to maintain enough faculty members and facilities for the sanctioned strength — which could be 100 or 150 students. And if the colleges are found lacking in faculty members or facilities during inspections, they lose their permit to operate,” said a senior doctor who conducts inspections for the MCI.