Mangaluru: “The Young Doctors wing of the Indian Medical Association is holding a state-wide campaign to safeguard the interests of all merit students from Karnataka, to resurrect social justice that has being trampled under privatization, to control the unbridled rise of cost of medical education, to save the standards of medical education and to urge the immediate implementation of the Supreme Court order on centralised counselling by the states,” informed Dr Vrishanka Aithal, secretary of Doctors Against Corruption campaign.
Addressing a press meet here on Thursday March 2, she said, “Karnataka was one of the first states to start the Common Entrance Test (CET) in 1984 and had 75% of seats in the private medical colleges under the government quota. But instead of a single CET, private colleges and deemed universities have started their own entrance examinations, because of which the share of seats offered under the government quota has steadily dwindled. This has not only deprived opportunity for professional education to students with merit, but also harmed social justice. Also, the standard of medical education has sharply declined and its cost has skyrocketed.
“Attempts have been made by the private colleges to subvert the intent of this examination by holding their own counselling for admissions, albeit based on the NEET results. Considering this, the 5-judge bench of the Supreme Court on September 22, 2016 ordered that all the admissions for all medical seats under NEET must be done only through centralised counselling conducted by the state government and has cancelled the counselling held by private colleges. Also, in another judgement dated September 28, 2016, the Supreme Court ordered that centralised counselling by the state government must be held for the medical college seats under the deemed universities as well,” she said.
“The states of Haryana, Punjab and Maharashtra have already issued notification for centralised, single-window counselling for all the seats in medical colleges managed by the government as well as private/deemed universities and Kerala and many other states are in the process of doing so. In Karnataka the counselling for admissions after UG NEET was held separately by the private colleges, and many students with merit could not get admissions. And again, after the announcements of the result of PG NEET, the Karnataka Examination Authority has published an instruction manual on its website regarding document verification. Without wide publicity and giving
adequate time, the KEA seems to be in a hurry to complete this process,” she added.
“In this regard, we have formed the Doctors Against Corruption campaign under the Indian Medical Association and Young Doctors wing and conducted a signature campaign in all the medical colleges of Karnataka, collecting more than 5,000 signatures and have submitted a memorandum to the chief minister and also to the ministers of health and family welfare and medical education through IMA,” she added.
Listing out the demands of the Association, she said, “We have a clear cut demands that the process of document verification at the KEA must be publicised well and the dates must be extended adequately to facilitate the participation of all the eligible aspirants. All the seats for postgraduate education, offering MD/MS/diploma/MDS and also MBBS/BDS in all the government, private and deemed university-affiliated medical and dental colleges of Karnataka must be allotted on the basis of the UG/PG NEET starting in the year 2017 itself, through only a centralised, transparent, single window counselling held by the Karnataka Examination Authority under the observation of the government of Karnataka. The eligibility to seek admission in the government quota for students from outside the state of Karnataka, but who have studied MBBS/BDS in Karnataka, must be immediately withdrawn. There must be parity of tuition fees and hostel fees, as well as stipend, for all the students admitted under the government quota in the government, as well as private and deemed university-affiliated medical and dental colleges. There should not be any hidden fees.
“If our demands are not met, we will stage a protest demonstration at the Karnataka Examination Authority in Bengaluru on March 4, the first day of the document verification for medical postgraduate admissions. This will be a statewide protest, but in Mangalore we will hold a silent protest by wearing black ribbons,” she said.
“We also demand social justice to all the students of Karnataka. KEA needs to answer why it is hurrying the process of verification of documents. Because of all privatization, the nobleness of the medical profession has been hampered in the name of money and power. Everybody thinks doctors are responsible for all the price hikes and the drop in the quality of medical care, but it is we, the doctors, who are suffering. A capable aspiring doctor does not stand a chance of getting a seat because of the privatization. This is why the IMA and the medical fraternity is standing up, asking for help to serve our state better,” Dr Vrishanka Aithal concluded.
Dr Abhishek said, “We started this Doctors Against Corruption to make the cost of healthcare affordable. Healthcare system is directly related to the common man. The cost of healthcare should come down so that the common man can benefit from this.”
When asked about the problem regarding registration with KEA, Dr Aithal said, “I myself found it difficult to get registered as there is some problem with the KEA site. Each one of us in our group finds it difficult to get registered. There is some problem in payment of fees that has to be paid to the State Bank of Mysore. There are three branches of SBM in Mangaluru but people residing in interior areas find it difficult to pay their fees. We are not demanding centralised counselling for just PG but for UG as well. Once they finish with NEET, they should undergo centralised counselling so that every merit students who deserves a seat gets it.”