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Additional Seats Only For Govt. Medical Colleges: Kerala Health Minister

Health Minister K.K. Shylaja on Thursday told the Assembly that the State would allow only government medical colleges to increase their number of seats to accommodate economically weaker students from forward castes as per the Centre’s decision to accord 10% quota in education for undergraduates hailing from social groups not covered by the reservation.

Piloting the motion for consideration and further stages of the Kerala Medical Education (Regulation and Control of Admission to Private Medical Educational Institutions) Amendment Bill, 2019, Ms. Shyalaja rebutted the Opposition’s charge that the government had taken cover behind the Centre’s directive to allow profit-motivated private self-financing medical colleges to increase the numbers of seats at will. The Minister said the Medical Council of India (MCI) had clarified that the seat increase to accommodate the 10% quota would apply only to State-run colleges.

The 10% reservation for economically backward among forward castes applied to general category students.

It did not apply to students from SC/ST and Other Backward Classes categories, which have 50% quota of medical education seats set aside for them. The new allocation will take the reservation of medical seats to 60%.

Amendment

Ms. Shylaja said the government intended to amend the principal Act passed in 2017 to create two committees to supervise admissions to private medical colleges and regulate the fee charged by them. A retired judge would head the Admission Supervisory Committee and the Fee Regulatory Committee. The Health Secretary will be a member in both the committees, along with a nominee of the Indian Medical Council, a chartered account and an educational expert belonging to the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes.

Ms. Shylaja said the government would ensure social justice in the private medical education sector. The law would help curb malpractices such as exploitative fee and sale of seats at exorbitant rates to wealthy students who did not academically qualify for medical courses. The Bill was pro-student and pro-parent.

The government has angered private managements by fixing ₹6 lakh as the maximum course fee. It had merged NRI seats with the general quota much to the chagrin of those who sought to commercialise medical education.

P.T. Thomas, Roshy Augustine, P.K. Basheer and M. Ummer pointed out several anomalies in the proposed amendment and demanded that the government send the Bill back to the subject committee.- The Hindu