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Student organisation protests steep fee hike for Karnataka medical and dental courses

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The hike in fee for medical and dental courses by the Karnataka government led to protests in Bengaluru on Saturday. Earlier in June, the state government had announced a 15% hike in fees for MBBS and BDS (dental) courses for the government quota for the 2019-20 academic year.

The All India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO) on Saturday staged a protest at Mysore Bank Circle arguing that the fee hike was discriminatory and took away opportunities to study medicine for economically weaker sections. AIDSO representatives submitted a memorandum to the Medical Education Department, asking them to roll back the decision.

Since 2012, the hike in fees for private medical and dental colleges has gone up by 50%. According to the Department of Medical Education, the fees for MBBS courses is up from Rs 97,350 in 2018 to Rs 1,11,959 for the 2019-20 academic year. The fee was Rs 46,000 in 2012. The BDS fee has increased from Rs 63,030 to Rs 72,484. It was only Rs 35,000 in 2012.

The fees are much high under the management quota. Under this quota, a medical seat will cost Rs 7,85,565. Last year, the fees was 6,83,100. The fee in dental colleges will be Rs 5,32,818, as opposed to Rs 4,63,320 in 2018. In 2012, the fees for MBBS course under management quota was Rs 3,57,500 and Rs 2,53,000 for BDS.

However, no fee hike was imposed on government colleges. They will remain at Rs 50,000 for MBBS and Rs 40,000 for BDS. Officials with the department say that the owners of private medical colleges had been demanding a 25% fee hike owing to various operational costs.

“How is this hike even fair? Every student who aspires to study medicine must be able to afford the fees. What if the NEET topper did not have money to pay the fees? Rich and poor alike must be afforded the same chance to study. This fee hike indirectly tells us that only the rich are allowed to study medicine. This is not fair,” said Ashwini, state secretary of AIDSO.

Source: The News Minute

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