Another JNU In Making? Centre Proposes Fee Hike In AIIMS
Medical students will have to burn a hole in the pocket if they wish to study from All India Institute Of Medical Association (AIIMS), as the Centre is all set to hike the tuition fees to recover financial losses.
The health ministry has also asked the institute to increase the user charges for various diagnostic procedures like blood tests, X-Rays and OPD charges for patients.
The decision comes amid students’ protest over the drastic hike in the hostel fees and introduction of several other charges in Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Last week, the Union Health Ministry directed the Central Institute Body (CIB) of six AIIMS, in the country to begin the process of reviewing tuition fees and fix uniform charges for various facilities for patients.
“In pursuance of the directions of the Government of India (Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare), AIIMS Delhi is required to review all fees and user charges in the institute,” said a letter from AIIMS Financial Adviser, as quoted by various media reports.
The CIB has instructed its various departments and sections to submit details of charges, actual current cost and the reasons for setting user charges lower than the current costs.
On of the health ministry official on anonymity highlighted that the institute has not increased the user charges for diagnostic procedures for the past 25 years. The health ministry official has also stated that it has not revised the tuition fees for the past 50 years.
AIIMS provides the cheapest medical education in the country. The current MBBS programme just cost ₹6,000 per student, which includes tuition, hostel and all other charges for the five-year programme.
The officials in the Human Resource Development ministry said that it plans to raise the fees to ₹50,000 – ₹70,000 per year, reported New Indian Express
The AIIMS Resident Doctors’ Association has expressed its disapproval towards the health ministry’s decision.
The association president, Dr Amarinder Malhi, in a statement, said, “We, the resident doctors, are against the memorandum issued by the administration. We are against any increase in the tuition fees of students and user charges for patients in all medical institutes.”
AIIMS RDA said that they are with the quality and affordable education for all sections of the society and will not allow the government or any organisation to compromise it.
Speaking to The Logical Indian Amarinder said, “We will counter the figures, once the administrations come up with their revised fees.” He also reiterated the fact that all the AIIMS institute in this country provide education at a very minimal fee.
“I don’t understand why the government is trying to increase the patients’ fee. In 2017, a committee under Dr Anoop Saraya recommended to give away with the charges on diagnostic procedures like blood tests, ultrasound and X-rays,” said a former president of Resident Doctors’ Association – Harjit Singh Bhatti.
In 2017 to review the user charges an internal committee had recommended against charging money for tests and procedures which cost less than ₹500 at the institutes. The committee instead suggested increasing the charges of private wards to make up for the loss.
“Many students join AIIMS with a dream to become a doctor. If there is fee hike then a lot of the students will have to bear the brunt”, said Mukul Kumar, president of the Student’s Union of AIIMS- Delhi.
Talking on the proposal of hiking user charges, Mukul said that AIIMS is burdened with patients. “If you compare the charge of various diagnostic test and compare it with other diagnostics labs, you will know why people from weaker section prefer AIIMS over other hospitals,” Mukul noted.
AIIMS students stood in solidarity with JNU students over the fee hike. “We marched with JNU students to express our discontent over the fee hike,” concluded the fourth-year student.
At present, every year the government spends nearly ₹3,500 crore on AIIMS-Delhi and ₹300-500 crore on each of the 14 other functional AIIMS.