CHENNAI: A day after allotting 7.5% of MBBS and BDS seats in the state to government school students, the Tamil Nadu government and the opposition DMK vied with each other to pay fees to the government/private medical/dental colleges concerned.
Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Saturday said the state would create a special revolving fund under Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation (TNMSC) to pay the entire fees. The announcement came hours after DMK president M K Stalin said his party would sponsor the government students’ education. The annual tuition fees for government quota seats in private medical colleges range from Rs 3.8 lakh to Rs 4 lakh.
“We had already made an announcement that post-matric scholarships and other financial aid will be appropriately taken care of,” the CM said. Earlier in the day, Stalin pointed out that many of these students hailed from poor families and they were not in a position to pay the fee in self-financing medical colleges.
While the chief minister accused Stalin of staging a “political drama”, DMK leaders said the state government was acting on pressure from the Opposition.
In 2020-21, for the first time, the state had set aside 7.5% of total MBBS/BDS seats for government students. While all parties unanimously voted for the Bill in the assembly, the legislation was delayed as it was pending government ascent. Only after the DMK staged protests and issued statements condemning the delay, the state government took the executive route and issued a government order. The order became infructuous with the governor’s assent to the Bill next day,” said former higher education minister and DMK leader K Ponmudy.
The state selection committee conducted a three-day counselling from Wednesday for allotment on seats. On Friday, the directorate of medical education had asked deans of all government and self-financing colleges to admit government school students who were allotted seats under the 7.5% quota without insisting on fees after verifying their documents including identity cards and certificates. The letter from director of medical education Dr R Narayanababu asked colleges to call students who were turned away for not paying fees.
“Why did the government not announce they will pay the fees then?,” asked DMK general secretary Durai Murugan. “It looks like they are waiting to follow the orders of our leader,” he told reporters.
However, health minister C Vijayabaskar said no government student had not taken a seat or was denied admission due to lack of funds. When the admissions opened there were 313 MBBS seats and 92 BDS seats 227 seats in 26 government medical colleges and 12 seats in two government dental colleges. Among the 15 self-financing medical colleges and 18 dental self-financing colleges 86 and 80 seats were reserved for students from the government colleges, he said.
“At the end of counselling only six BDS seats in self-financing colleges were vacant, that too was not because students did not have money. It was because they wanted to write NEET and attempt MBBS next year,” he said. The government had assured students that it would take care of their fees on the first day of counselling,” he said.