Open category Maharashtra students who fail to get admission in medical colleges for MBBS or post-graduation due to the reservations introduced under the Socially and Economically Backward Category (SEBC) from this year will be allowed to take admission in private medical colleges, with the government reimbursing the difference in fees.
At a meeting held in Mumbai, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also said that the decrease in medical seats in open category due to reservation for various social communities in the state will be compensated by increasing the number of seats.
A delegation under the banner of ‘Save Merit, Save Nation’ had called upon Fadnavis to express disappointment over the shrinking seats for general students in medical colleges.
An official statement issued by the state government after the meeting said, “The CM has assured to make up the loss of open category seats by increasing the seats in MBBS and PG. He further said that those eligible open category students who could not get admission due to reservation should seek admission in private colleges and the government will reimburse their current year’s tuition fees.”
The state has enforced the 12 per cent reservation in education and 13 per cent in jobs to Maratha community under the SEBC category. With this, the total reservations in the state have gone up from the existing 52 per cent to 64 per cent in education.
Government sources said this would reduce open category seats in state government colleges by approximately 104 in PG and 314 in MBBS.
Since the process of admissions has already begun, officials indicated the increase in seats for PG is unlikely in the current year.
Even if the Centre sanctions the increase, it could be only for undergraduate medical seats.
Announcing the setting up of an eight-member commission, comprising officials and experts, to solve problems of open category students, Fadnavis urged them to not worry over the new quota and said the government would ensure justice to all students across communities.
He pointed out that the government was already giving 50 per cent tuition fee reimbursement in 604 courses to the economically weaker open category students, under the Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Educational Reimbursement Scheme. Besides, OBC and open category students get scholarship for education in foreign universities, the CM said.
The financial implications of reimbursement of fees for open category students in MBBS and PG can be ascertained after the admissions are completed, a senior secretary in the Medical and Higher Education Department, pointed out. As per his rough estimate, “The average fee difference between government and private medical college per student will come to Rs 6.5 lakh per year.”
It is also unclear if the government promise of reimbursement of fees of private colleges is valid only for this year. The government has not officially made any commitment on fee reimbursement for the entire tenure of five years for MBBS and two years for PG.
In Maharashtra this year, 81,171 students qualified NEET for medical undergraduate admissions, an increase of 10,000 over 2018. In comparison, the number of seats increased by just about 100, an official in the Higher and Medical Education Department said. While government-and civic-run medical colleges offer around 3,160 MBBS seats, the total PG seats therein are 2,030. Maharashtra has 11 private medical colleges, with 1,880 MBBS seats and 1,441 PG.
The state has mooted a proposal demanding an additional 1,740 MBBS and 813 PG seats.
About seats other than medical, officials said the decision was currently being taken only with regards to this field as it had been impacted the most by the Maratha quota. “Unlike engineering, where there are a large number of seats, medical seats, both in government and private colleges, are limited,” an official said.
However, he added, the government-appointed committee would look into all aspects to evolve a uniform policy for all professional courses, including engineering, from next year.