National Eligibility Entrance Test confusion ups PG medical seat prices

BANGALORE: The race for that coveted post-graduate medical seat in Karnataka just got tougher. Two years ago, a PG seat in orthopedics in a prestigious private medical college in Bangalore cost Rs 1 crore. This year, it has touched Rs 2 crore. The price of an MD (Radiology) seat available for Rs 2 crore last year is likely to go up to Rs 2.75 crore this year.
The spike in the PG medical seat prices is the result of the chaos caused by the flawed introduction and implementation of the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET), which was envisaged to be a single entrance test for all medical and dental courses in the country.
On Monday, the Supreme Court exempted private and government medical colleges from the purview of NEET for the academic year 2013-14 for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
With decks being cleared for admissions, students from other states are queuing up to block the seats in Karnataka as their home states have scrapped their tests after introducing NEET. "The uncertainty over NEET has prompted students to reserve seats here; otherwise, they lose a year. Colleges were just waiting for a verdict on the fate of NEET. Now that the interim order is pronounced, counters have been opened for booking the seats. Students don't mind making advance payments," sources said.
For colleges, it's a double bonanza. Apart from Karnataka allowing students from other states to get admission here, the rates for the management seats have shot up because this is the last year that managements can quote their own fee structure. If NEET is implemented across the country, a student can gain eligibility to any PG seat only if he has scored 50 percentile in the test.
"With May 31 being the last day to complete PG admissions, it's impossible to implement NEET in Karnataka. So this being the last year without NEET which prescribes a minimum score to be eligible for admission, the scramble for seats is at its maximum. From next year, the number of management seats is going to be fewer as private colleges have to hand over 50% of its seats to the government. Being the last chance for private colleges to make money, they are making the most out of it," sources explained.
While Radiology is sure to cross the Rs 2.5-crore mark, Orthopaedics and Dermatology are not far behind. They cost Rs 2 crore each. Paediatrics was Rs 1.2 crore last year in Bangalore, while the going rate this year is Rs 1.84 crore. If this is the rate for the most sought after courses, OBG (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) which was Rs 90 lakh last year has crossed the Rs 1 crore mark this year.
The trend in the demand for medical seats in Karnataka was evident by the increase in the number of students who appeared for the ComedK this year. "The number of applicants went up by 10,500 this year. This is also because Karnataka has always been a pioneer in medical education and students from other states flock here," ComedK officials said.
If that is the story for post-graduate courses, there is utter confusion where UG courses are concerned. Students in Karnataka will appear for NEET (UG) on May 18 with the sword of uncertainty hanging if their scores will be considered for admission at all.

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