CHENNAI: The premier Christian Medical College in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore has decided to leave 99 of its 100 MBBS seats vacant this year. The century old minority institution is seeking rights to select NEET qualified students through its own counselling. Currently, committees set up by the central and state governments select students through centralized counselling.
However, the college has admitted just one student – a soldier’s son who the centre nominated for MBBS and another nominee for a super specialty programme which has 62 seats.
The college says it caters to 180 mission hospitals in rural and remote areas across the country where on completion of the course, doctors are required to serve for two years on low salary.
“We select students from all over the country with exceptional social concern, to serve and help and who have demonstrated empathy. Many students we choose are from poor background in remote areas and they go back and serve in those areas. High marks alone don’t guarantee willingness to serve. We accept NEET. As a minority institution we believe we have the right to choose among qualified candidates fulfilling our vision,” said Dr Anna Pulimood, the Principal.
Doctors Association for Social Equality says CMC’s action may not be the right option. Dr G R Rabindranath, General Secretary says “As a developing country, we need more UG doctors and super specialty doctors also. At this juncture stopping admissions to these courses is a great loss to the health care delivery system of India”.
Last year, the Supreme Court exempted the college and it had admitted students through its own counselling. CMC authorities say the top court is likely to give its verdict in October and if the court permits the remaining seats would be filled. Citing CMC’s admission process is much older than the Medical Council of India, the principal added, “In the past the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that our admission system to be fair, transparent and non-exploitative.”
CMC Vellore is a self-funded institution and officials say it collects fees much lower than government medical colleges – an annual fee of Rs. 3000 for MBBS.