Calcutta, Aug. 10: Under pressure from doctors’ and Left students’ lobbies, the government proposes to roll back the increase in tuition fees at medical colleges.
Prepared under health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra’s supervision, the proposal has been sent to finance minister Asim Dasgupta for clearance.
“We are seriously considering to provide further relief to students and have sent a proposal to reduce the medical tuition fees by Rs 100. But we can make an announcement only after the proposal is cleared by the finance department,” Mishra said.
The finance department is believed to have agreed and a government order is expected any time.
A senior health official said Mishra had proposed that the tuition fee for MBBS and bachelor of dental science courses be cut by Rs 100 per month. However, the one-time admission fee of Rs 1,000 for MBBS students is likely to remain.
If cleared, it will be the second time that the proposed increase in fees will be cut back.
From an absurd Rs 12 a month, the fee was initially to be raised to Rs 1,000. On protests from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Students Federation of India (SFI), a CPM affiliate, the government backed off and settled for Rs 850 for MBBS and Rs 750 for dental.
The health minister announced the revised fees — to take effect from the coming academic session — in the Assembly on July 9.
The health department also proposed that the tuition fee for homoeopathy and ayurveda courses be reduced from Rs 650 per month to Rs 550. No changes are expected in the fees non-resident Indians or those sponsored by them pay for the reserved seats.
On July 22, the SFI took to the streets to protest against the government’s announcement. The same day, an SFI delegation met Mishra and urged him to reduce the tuition fee and the MBBS admission charge of Rs 1,000.
An IMA delegation met chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and made the same request.
“The chief minister agreed that even at the rate of Rs 850 per month, it will be difficult for many students from middle-class families to pursue medical studies. Buddhababu told us that a process was on to revise the tuition fees,” said an IMA official.