Uttarakhand: Medical college hikes fee by 300 per cent, students protest

Acting on the Uttarakhand Cabinet’s decision of giving a free hand to all three state private medical colleges on the fee structure for undergraduate and post-graduate courses, a private medical institute has decided to hike the fee by upto 300 per cent, sparking outrage among students.

Shri Guru Ram Rai Institute of Medical and Health Sciences has decided to increase the MBBS tuition fee from Rs five lakh to Rs 19.76 lakh for the first year. For post-graduation courses, including MD in General Medicine, the fee for the first year has been increased from Rs 7.38 lakh to Rs 26.6 lakh. Students have been protesting against the hike ever since it was announced on Monday and are demanding the university to withdraw its decision.

“I took admission here last year. A majority of us had to opt for student loans to pay the fee. We paid Rs five lakh for the first year. Now, we are being asked to pay the revised fee (more than Rs 20 lakh) for the second year and an additional Rs 15 lakh to match the new fee of Rs 19.76 lakh for first years. We cannot afford to pay so much,” a first year MBBS student said on the condition of anonymity.
For post-graduation courses, including MD in General Medicine, the fee for the first year has been increased from his Rs 7.38 lakh to Rs 26.6 lakh. (Express photo/Virender Singh Negi) For post-graduation courses, including MD in General Medicine, the fee for the first year has been increased from his Rs 7.38 lakh to Rs 26.6 lakh. (Express photo/Virender Singh Negi)

In an official statement from the university which has 650 students in its undergraduate courses and 102 in postgraduate, authorities said the matter related to fee hike was in the Uttarakhand High Court during the time of admission last year. “Last year, the students had signed an affidavit stating that they would pay the fee that would be decided upon once the matter is resolved from the court. The college administration will not agree to any illegitimate demands of the students,” the statement read.

Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat said, “Rs 500-700 crore is invested in a medical college. The government does not provide any monetary help to set up one. The government wants to welcome investors in the state, so we’ve allowed the private medical institutes to decide their fee. However, if the institute charges exceptionally high amounts, then the government will intervene.”

While neither the government nor the college is ready to provide any relief in the case, Ravindra Jugran from the Private Medical University Joint Parents’ Association, which is objecting to the fee hike, said, “A majority of the students in the university belong to low income groups and they are all studying on loans. There is no way they can afford the new fee. If the government does not intervene in the matter, we will have to approach the Uttarakhand High Court.”