Government considering whether to continue consensual agreement or implement 2006 Act

With just eight days to go for the completion of admissions for postgraduate medical courses in the State, the government seems to be in two minds on its consensual agreement with the private unaided educational institutions for admissions this year.

A meeting chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday with Minister of State for Medical Education Minister Sharan Prakash Rudrappa Patil and Higher Education and Tourism Minister R.V. Deshpande to resolve the imbroglio over admissions for PG courses remained inconclusive. The meeting was attended by representatives of COMED-K.

A decision was taken to hold another round of meeting in the next few days.

Pending petition

The Supreme Court, in its order on May 13, said that the last date for admissions for PG medical courses will be May 31. Seeking more time for the last date for admissions, the government has filed a petition in the Supreme Court and it would come up for hearing on Monday, Dr. Patil said.

Though the Chief Minister and Dr. Patil are committed to implementing the Karnataka Professional Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fee) Act, 2006, they fear a fixation committee under the Act may increase fee and that would burden students belonging to poor families. Moreover, a committee is yet to be constituted.

The BJP-Janata Dal(S) coalition government and the BJP government had entered into a consensual arrangement or agreement with the Private Unaided Professional Educational Institutions for 2006-2007, 2007-2008 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13.

The previous governments kept in abeyance the Act of 2006 for admissions and fixation of fee in private unaided professional educational institutions.

Speaking to The Hindu, Dr. Patil said that the private college managements have expressed readiness for continuation of the consensual pact. But the managements placed a proposal to seek a hike in fee. The government considered that hike in fee would increase the financial burden on meritorious students belonging to poor families.

As the principal Opposition, the Congress had, in the last five years, been pressing for the implementation of the 2006 Act. Now, the party has come to power and it is in two minds whether to implement the Act or go ahead with the consensual pact, sources said.

‘Open mind’

“Keeping in view the students’ interests, the government has an open mind on admissions. The government is keen on implementing the 2006 Act and is considering the pros and cons of the Act as well as the consensual agreement,” Dr. Patil said. “We cannot keep the future of the students in the dark all the time. We are going to implement the Act. But time is too short now. The Chief Minister will hold another round of meeting soon to finalise the admission process,” Dr. Patil said.

Under the consensual pact, different fee structure would be fixed for different categories of students. Under the 2006 Act, the Fee Fixation Committee should be headed by a retired High Court judge. The fee for students belonging to poor families in government medical college was Rs. 36,000 and more than Rs. 3 lakh for other students under government quota in private colleges in 2012-13.

Under the Act, 50 per cent of the seats are reserved for students belonging to poor, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other backward class families in government, aided consortium of medical, engineering and dental colleges. Under the pact, only 25 per cent of seats were reserved for such students in COMED-K colleges last year, officials said.

As per the Act, the government should constitute a one-man regulatory committee headed by a former Vice-Chancellor of university, to oversee the admission process. The committee is yet to be set up.