CORRUPTION AND MEDICAL EDUCATION… They go hand-in-hand! By Dr Olav Albuquerque

By Dr Olav Albuquerque

NEARLY 3,200 students in Goa who have sought admission to the MBBS, BAMS, BHMS, dentistry and nursing college in this tiny state, apart from five health programs taught at the Goa Medical College, have been affected by the NEET scam, where question papers were leaked. Seven students got a fantastic score of 720 out of 720 marks! Of these, six students were from just one centre in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh.
This is what Goa has paid for integrating with India in 1961, because the corruption which has rocked the rest of India has seeped into Goa — so tests have lost their credibility in this state too. The demography of this state has changed with outsiders from Maharashtra and Karnataka flocking here to claim seats in MBBS, BHMS, BAMS, nursing and allied health programs. There are a large number of outside students who study in the Goa Medical College.
A total of 1,600 students who appeared for NEET have got grace marks and once these grace marks are withdrawn, the ranks of these students will fall drastically, so that it is impossible to segregate those aspiring medicos who appeared from Goa for medical or seats in the nursing college.
The Directorate of Technical Education has already called for the NEET scorecards of those students who took the exam. The final scores will be released by the first week of July when the final scores will be tallied and admissions to the MBBS, BAMS and BHMS finalized. Interestingly, Goa has emerged as an educational hub to attract all those who cannot face the tough competition in the neighboring states. Goa is more of a cakewalk for them. Goan students generally lack the cut-throat mentality of the southern students whose parents will fork out a crore of rupees to ensure their wards enter a medical college.

FIRST YEAR
THIS is also the first year that Goa has changed the criterion for admission to the BPharm degree course where expertise in organic chemistry is mandatory. Now, with the scrapping of the GCET admission test, those Goans who aspire to do their BPharm will have to fare well in the NEET test which will prove tough.
In the 1970s, those students who did not score a first class in the Intermediate Science exam would seek admission to the BPharm course so they could get jobs in pharma companies such as Cosme Matias Menezes or other well-known pharma companies. Getting a first class in the Intermediate Science examination of Bombay University was not easy in the late 1970s. Cosme Matias Menezes was the first to open a drug store in the year 1910 at Panjim when the Portuguese ruled Goa. This pharma company has now opened several branches throughout Goa and even outside.
But today, with mining, tourism and agriculture being the backbone of the Goan economy, education and infrastructure has also attracted direct foreign investment with IIT Goa offering the BTech degree in computer science and engineering, apart from the traditional streams of mechanical, electrical and mathematics. The MTech degree is offered in the same subjects with outsiders trying to grab most of the seats. Setting up an IIT in Goa has not made much of a difference to the easygoing or sussegad Goan.

NEET SCAM
BE that as it may, the NEET scam which has affected over 10,00,000 students spread throughout the country with the BIMARU states (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) being the most affected, Goa has received a setback. Goan students have joined their counterparts from other states in protesting against the leakage of question papers which the Government has denied in the Supreme Court.
The Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh where proxy candidates appeared for aspiring MBBS students and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan transferred Anand Rai, the doctor who exposed the scam outside his place of posting is one such scandal which has rocked India. Fifty-five persons were murdered to scuttle investigations with one young woman being thrown from a running train. A journalist investigating the scam was murdered with crucial eyewitnesses. One witness was murdered a day before he was to appear to depose in court.
Governor Ram Naresh Yadav who was the UP chief minister earlier is believed to be involved in the scam. With his death in 2016, the investigations which were never serious anyway because of the alleged involvement of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan himself, collapsed. The murders of those 55 souls who bravely withstood pressure to expose the scam will never rest in peace until those who murdered them are exposed.

MCI DISSOLVED
BEFORE Vyapam broke out, the MCI was dissolved by the President of India on May 15, 2010 following the arrest of MCI’s president Dr Ketan Desai by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on April 22, 2010. Desai, alleged middle-man JP Singh and doctors Sukhwinder Singh and Kanwaljit Singh were booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI recovered 1.5 kg of gold and 80 kg of silver from Dr Ketan Desai’s premises. Further, gold worth ₨35 lakh were recovered from Desai’s bank lockers in Ahmedabad. Following Desai’s arrest, the MCI was dissolved by the President of India on May 15, 2010.[11] However, MCI continued to operate until it was fully abolished by the government on September 25, 2020 and replaced by the National Medical Commission.
Medical education and corruption go hand-in-hand whether in Goa or elsewhere in the country.

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