About 101 MBBS students are currently in a feud with Baba Farid University of Health Sciences over the issue of revision of fees. After Chintpurni Medical College and Hospital was shut down in 2017, the medicos from the 2014-15 batches were moved to 3 government-run medical colleges in Amritsar, Faridkot and Patiala. The MBBS students were shifted after getting approval from the MCI.

Initially, the medical students deposited INR 28,350 as the annual fee in the current rate for government quota. But the university asked the students to pay a fee of almost INR 1.25 lacs per year, which is according to the government quota fee structure followed in private medical institutes.

The parents of the MBBS students requested the Punjab and Haryana High Court for a stay. The court ordered the university to permit the medicos to appear for the final exams after submitting INR 28, 350. Although the students were permitted to take the examinations, they could not participate in the compulsory rotator internship as the university held their results.
Currently, the issue is pending the Punjab and Haryana High Court. However, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences has recently released a notification requesting the MBBS students to deposit the rest of INR 3.32 lacs along with penalties. If they fail to pay the remaining fees, their results will be held back and the students will miss out on their opportunity to start the mandatory internship in April.

With the standoff still continuing, the medicos may end up losing one year of their MBBS course as might not be able to finish their internship.

The Palamu Medical College in Jharkhand is currently waiting to receive the Letter of Permission to be granted by the Medical Council of India (MCI). Back in 2017, the foundation stone for the medical college was laid along with Dumka Medical College and Hazaribagh Medical College by honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, the Palamu Medical College was inaugurated by PM Modi last month.

Currently, the administration of the medical institute in Palamu is unable to start their MBBS admission process with 100 aspirants unless they receive permission from the MCI. The college administration has confirmed that the construction is almost complete and it will be ready for operation in a couple of months. It is expected that the left wing of the building will be completed soon and MBBS classes can be commenced from last week of July 2019. Moreover, two separate campus hostels for male and female students are almost ready as well.

Principal of the Palamu Medical College, Dr. Harbansh K Singh said

“Unless we receive the LoP (Letter of Permission), admissions can’t begin in any new medical college.”

He added that initially only 4 subjects will get taught in the college namely, Biochemistry, Physiology, Anatomy and Community Medicine.

Dr. Singh further said

“We hope that after the elections are over, efforts to make this college operational will gain pace.”

Nitin Madan Kulkarni, Health Secretary of the State Government, has claimed that they have worked out the procedural problems so that the admission process in these new medical colleges can be commenced immediately once they have received permission from the MCI.

On February 21, 2019, the Delhi High Court will hear a petition that aims to nullify the latest notification from MCI that announced MBBS aspirants with benchmark disability over 80% will be disallowed from UG medical programs.

After the Medical Council of India released the notification on 2nd February, the plea was filed. The eligibility criteria for all PwD candidates were clearly laid out in the MCI announcement based on their respective disability. According to the notification, especially challenged individuals, identified as Divyangs, with over 80% disability will be banned from studying MBBS. The term ‘Divyang’ was recommended by PM Narendra Modi to be used in place of ‘Viklang’ to define individuals with disability. People with Dysgraphia will also be barred from pursuing medical studies stated the notification.

However, it was reported that the guidelines regarding disabled individuals issued by the MCI BoG was strongly objected by aspiring doctors with disabilities. The petition filed against the notification states that the decision is extremely discriminatory, illogical and irrational.

According to section 3(1), it must be ensured by the respondents that individuals with disabilities live with dignity and have the right to equality mentioned the petition. The Delhi High Court has decided to hear the PIL immediately.

The number of medical seats for both MBBS and PG courses may see a dramatic rise from this year. In due regards, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the medical education regulator have proposed to loosen the norms of admission to allow increased number of seats in both private and government medical colleges.

The proposal seeks to allow existing medical colleges to increase seats and also permitting new colleges to get operational, even if they don’t meet the infrastructural / faculty requirements.

The Medical Council of India- Board of Governors has clearly stated that medical colleges which have applied for increased seat intake and starting operations can be given approval to at least some seats even if they fail to build infrastructure facilities and meet faculty ratio norms.

A senior official told:  “For instance, if a medical college with 50 MBBS seats on offer wants to add 50 more seats, we want to let it increase 30 seats if it does not fulfill criteria for total 100 MBBS seats. This middle ground option is not there in the rules now but we are trying to introduce that.

This proposal from the Medical Council caught the attention of the Central Government, now rethinking to amend the rules. According to official sources, if the regulations are amended, 5000-6000 more seats could be added to Medical Colleges in contrast to earlier when India use to offer 55,000 MBBS and 30,000 PG seats every year.

The Department of Medical Education and Research (DMER) waived off half of the government quota MBBS seats in 3 leading private medical colleges in Punjab on June 30, 2018. The three colleges are Sri Guru Ram Das College in Amritsar, Christian Medical College (CMC) in Ludhiana and Adesh Medical College in Bathinda. These institutions have already made the decision to nullify government quota seats in their latest prospectuses.

Satish Chandra, Additional Chief Secretary who in charge of DMER, stated “The state government has decided to quash the quota in Adesh Institute of Medical Sciences, Bathinda, Sri Guru Ram Das Medical College, Amritsar and Christian Medical College, Ludhiana.” The intriguing move meant that all three private medical institutes will have the authority to decide their own MBBS fees structure. The news came as a blow for aspiring MBBS candidates as they will now have to pay an exorbitant fee.

Dr. GS Grewal, former Punjab Medical Council Chief, criticized the move and said it will make medical education harder and unaffordable for passionate and deserving candidates.

The MCI has recently issued a warning to make all upcoming medical practitioners and students aware of unrecognized post-graduate medical courses. Currently, all students who have passed the NEET PG 2019 are looking for the right Medical PG courses and medical colleges to pursue. However, all candidates should take precaution before opting for a specific course. It is advised that applicants must verify whether a particular course is recognized or not by the by the Medical Council of India.

In an official notice, the MCI stated “The admissions made by any institution that imparts courses in modern medicine, namely MBBS, or Diploma in various streams of medicine; MD/MS/DM/M.Ch without the prior permission of the Central Government is illegal and students so admitted shall not get recognized medical qualification entitling them to practice medicine.”

The MCI has advised candidates to refer to the official MCI website www.mciindia.org to find information related to medical courses prior to taking admission. Any medico holding unrecognized medical qualifications will not be permitted to practice medicine, warned the council.

In a recent move, the MCI Board of Governors has decided to make provision regarding the recognition and permission of MBBS seats offered to medical colleges. Indian medical colleges are required to comply with a strict blueprint of manpower & infrastructure conditions. These requirements are needed not only to commence a course but also to raise the amount of seats for a specific course. In case a college fails to meet the infrastructure requirements, the Medical Council of India can refuse to grant permission to the college after conducting a thorough inspection.

Perhaps the primary concern in the entire permission process is the clear-cut approach followed in taking decisions. If a medical institution successfully meets all the requirements set by the council, then it will be granted permission, otherwise it will be rejected completely.

In an official note, it was stated “As per the decision of Board of Governors, an amendment was sent to Ministry of Health & Family Welfare with regard to make provision to offer less number of MBBS seats than applied number in case the institution fulfils the requirement for less number of seats in Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 1999 and in The Opening of a New or Higher Course of Study or Training (including Postgraduate course of study or training) and Increase of Admission Capacity in any Course of Study or Training (including a Postgraduate Course of Study or Training) Regulations, 2000.

Thus, the MCI Board of Governors has now decided to ease out the permission and recognition process. Provisions will now be made to permit medical colleges to provide fewer amounts of seats for MBBS than applied if the college completes the need for fewer seats according to the regulations. This was also detailed to the Ministry of Health for their approval.