New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry to bring an end to the ‘sale of seat’ racket which negatively impacts government medical colleges, in terms of loss of meritorious candidates and resultant wasteful expenditure for the government which creates the seats, has decided to impose a financial penalty on students who block seats during the central counselling process. They block them to aid private institutions, who make money by putting them up for sale at the last moment when the students give them up.
Worst still, ‘seat blocking’ as it is called, deprives the meritorious admissions of many good colleges.
An HT expose done last month spoke of how private colleges with the assistance of highly ranked candidates block MBBS seats, which they later at the cost of huge donations hand over to low-rank holders, during the mop-up round of counselling.
While private colleges use seat-blocking as a tool to make money, government end up losing resources as well as deserving candidates.
In response to the daily’s report, it is reported that seat blocking occurring for MBBS, postgraduate, and super specialty streams will be kept a close watch on by the Health Ministry. The Ministry has gone ahead and warned super specialty candidates appearing for the last counselling round that if caught blocking a seat, a debarment would follow from the entrance examination to be held next year. However, the warning seems to have fallen on deaf ears as 150 candidates of the 300 who took on admission (from the available 550 seats) through the last counselling session, failed to appear.
The reason cited for it by the Health Ministry was the availability of exam options being available to students, other than NEET for super specialty courses.
Some medical institutions that are still outside the Ministry’s purview are : Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research in Pondicherry; Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh; All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi; National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences in Bengaluru and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram.
2,000 super specialty seat allotments have been made at medical colleges across the country.
“From next year, we will ask candidates to deposit the first-year fee at the time of seat allotment. If the candidate refuses to take admission after opting for a seat, he will lose the entire amount,”, Additional Director General (medical education) with the Directorate General of Health Services, Dr B. Sirinivas told Hindustan Times.
It has been observed some candidates block seats to create hurdles in the way of others. An Example being that of a 29-year-old medical professional with a master’s degree in anaesthesiology . The doctor due to the menace of seat blocking for fun not only lost a prestigious Tata Memorial Hospital- Mumbai seat but has also ended up paying an additional 57 lakh for a private medical college for admission.
The student has suffered a loss, as the seat that he was to get and was blocked by another was eventually given up by that student, on the pretext of unavailability of family accommodation. This left the actual student bereft of it, as well, since the third round of counselling – conducted on the Supreme Court’s orders – ended on October 20.
“Now, I will have to approach the apex court once again to seek yet another round of counseling,” he said.