Thursday, June 04, 2009

Government claims that it will investigate seats for money scam

Image the situation; a private college in a state run by a political party; the college is owned by a member of the same political party who is now also a central minister of the Government of India. The same college demands money for admitting students (and not some small sum, but the sum of Rs. 20 lakhs). A media team plans a sting and shows the administrative officer of one of the colleges (the college is Shree Balaji Medical College owned by Union minister of state for information and broadcasting S Jagathrakshakan); in the other college, the registrar asks for Rs. 40 lakhs for students to be allowed admission into the medical college.
This seems perfectly realistic, inspite of Supreme Court judgments and Government policy, capitation based admission is a reality which the Government and the education ministry is perfectly fine to let happen. After all, for Governments that are able to sniff out the movements of opposition parties through their internal intelligence agencies, how hard would it be to find out which all colleges are charging capitation fees ? But when you consider that colleges are owned by politicians and important people, there is no effort that is going to happen to stop such practices from happening.
Why is it important to curb capitation ? Capitation means that a person will enter an important institution such as a medical college or engineering college without a validation of their basic ability to be capable of completing the course. These are colleges that will turn out doctors and engineers, all important elements of society (and if a college can charge Rs. 40 lakh for entry, it would charge a bit more and let these people also complete the course). In addition, poorer but capable students would not be able to pay these huge amounts. And if they took money from somewhere, the huge amount of repayment required would mean that they would bend corners to make the required money.
With this sting, the Government has sprung into action and promised all sort of actions (refer this article):

The Times of India's shocking expose of medical seats being put on sale for Rs 20-40 lakh by medical colleges in Tamil Nadu has triggered a probe into the scam by the Union government. Both HRD and health ministries on Wednesday said that they were examining the expose, and if found correct, would take action against these colleges, including their derecognition.
Union health ministry secretary Naresh Dayal said the two colleges would be derecognised if the veracity of the evidence is established. The Medical Council of India, the regulator for medical education, called the sale of medical seats an "unpardonable act" and has called a meeting of its executive committee next week to discuss the issue. Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu health department decided on Wednesday to issue show-cause notices to Sri Ramachandra University (SRU) and Shree Balaji Medical College whose officials were caught on camera asking for capitation fees of Rs 20-40 lakh, for violating the Tamil Nadu Educational Institutions (Prohibition of Collection Capitation Fee) Act 1992 and Supreme Court rulings against capitation fee.

Sounds like action is immediate, right ? Well, one is really not sure. For colleges belonging to important people, especially those close to parties that are part of the Government, I am skeptical that the Congress will take this a step further and actually take action. After some time, the college would claim that the sting was a fake sting and then the case would move into different circles.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 5:30 AM