Indeed the population of India is the 2nd largest in the world and hence the number of people aspiring to become medical doctors is huge. To meet this huge demand in admissions into medical schools, numerous private medical colleges have been opened up in India. However, the “capitation” fee and the actual education fee all adds up to just extraordinary numbers!
Recently, a Feature article by Jeetha D’Silva and a Views and Reviews article by Sanjay Nagral throws light upon the outrageous medical school fee and commercialization in healthcare and medical education in India.
Jeetha D’Silva reports that private medical colleges mostly ask for a one-off “capitation” fee, apart from tuition fee and others. The compulsory donations may even exceed Rs10m (£100 000; €130 000; $150 000). And since this course is popular amongst Indians, the parents end up paying this huge amount which is illegal. These would eventually amount to the “black money” in India which is estimated to be Rs60bn, based on capitation fee paid to professional colleges alone in India!
It is a nightmare for students to obtain admission into a reputable medical college especially after facing all the competition, writing numerous entrance examinations and getting through the various reserved ‘quotas’. The Supreme Court of India has considered capitation many times. Its first judgment in 1992, declared that charging such fees was arbitrary, unfair, and, therefore, in violation of the fundamental right to equality contained in article 14 of the constitution. But some court judgments have found to be in favour of private institutes charging capitation. And even the Supreme Court has ruled that private colleges can reserve some seats as “paid” to subsidize places earnt on merit. In its most recent judgment on capitation, the Supreme Court of India observed that capitation is still prevalent despite orders declaring the practice illegal. It continues because of the high demand for medical degrees.
Commercialization of education has lead to degenerating healthcare standards. Sanjay Nagral a consultant surgeon in Mumbai, writes that people have transformed their thoughts from not accepting donation to accepting them due to the trend nowadays. He says, “Broad economic changes have opened up public services, including higher education, to the logic of emergent market economics. So the idea of privatized higher education has acquired political backing and social sanction. Most private medical colleges are owned by the political elite—these cash cows also confer power because they dole out places.”
These details about huge fee and illegal transactions could cause an outrage but the truth of the matter is that it needs to be addressed as this ends up causing the rich to be richer and the poor to be poorer. “Fundamental reform by Indian citizens is necessary and this will help the medical industry”, says Sanjay Nagral.
The original articles can be accessed at: