Hyderabad: In a shocking revelation, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has said that close to 50 percent of stipend non-payment complaints received across the nation have been registered by Private Medical Colleges (PMC) students in Telangana.
A post on X highlighted the section of complaints received by the NMC suggesting that the PMCs in Telangana are holding back the mandatory stipend they must pay to their students.
However, the NMC refuses to share the list of the private medical colleges that have held back the medical students’ stipend.
In April 2023, on directions from the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC), the NMC sought nationwide feedback from PMC students to ascertain the stipend paid to them by their colleges.
Telangana junior doctors’ stipend delayed, productivity disrupted
Surprisingly, a whopping 10,178 medical students responded to the call and registered their feedback via the Google form that was generated by the NHRC.
Students find fault with NMC
Speaking to Saisat.com, a final-year student from a PMC in Telangana pointed out the faults in the functionality of NMC. “Justice would have been served to students much early if NMC was firm in acting against the age-old issue of managements hampering the students rights for over 10 years.”
“Management asks us to sign ‘blank cheques’ reasoning to open an account in their concerned bank and display on record that the stipend has been paid, ” lamented the students, alleging that the bank accounts are dummies.
The student further revealed that they were silenced by intimidation and threats. “Whenever students raise their voice for a stipend, the management threatens them of withholding their certificates mandatory to get the doctor’s degree.”
Not only that, in a few PMCs, the students are also asked to pay fines whenever there is a delay in the payment of fees.
“NMC overlooking these facts is questionable. It was the responsibility of the commission to address the student issues. They should not just ask for registration of complaints and take no action against the PMCs,” asserted the student.
‘Fake patients’ during NMC inspections
Another issue that the medical students in Telangana PMCs face is the shortage of faculty and patients in PMCs. According to the students, the concentration of management in many PMCs has deviated from the welfare of their patients.
“As they make a good fortune during admission via management seats, patient welfare is given the least priority. Additionally, during the NMC inspection that is carried out once a year, the management brings in ‘fake’ patients to justify their patient flow. Almost 80-90 percent of patients who are healthy people are paid to get themselves admitted to the hospital during the inspection,” the student highlighted.
Colleges ‘stealing’ stipends
On April 3, the Healthcare Reforms Doctor’s Association (HRDA) submitted a representation to the Telangana Admission and Fee Regulatory Committee (TAFRC) alleging that PMCs in the state were stealing their stipends.
They further alleged that the colleges were collecting excess fees of up to Rs 50,000 in the name of lab fees, library fees, and sports fees.
Additionally, they urged that the Telangana Admission and Fee Regulatory Committee (TARFC) take legal action against these PMCs to which the TARFC responded positively. The committee had reportedly announced a proposal for reviewing the fee structures of the state’s private medical colleges for the block period 2023-2024 to 2025-2026.
In a notification dated March 31, 2023, TAFRC asked the managements of PMCs to submit data related to the 2022-2023 financial year, together with their audited financial statements for the years 2022-23, 2021-22 and 2020-21 online by April 30, 2023.
“An institution which is unresponsive or does not submit statements of income and expenditure and other data shall not be permitted to collect any fee”, the committee had said.