The protests by students of Government Erode Medical College in Tamil Nadu demanding a reduction in annual tuition fee seems to have paid off. The Health Department of the Tamil Nadu government issued a government order on February 20 that the fee would be reduced from Rs 3.85 lakh to Rs 13,610 per annum for MBBS courses in the college. The fee structure, which comes into effect from the date of the order, brings it on par with the other government colleges in the state.
Furthermore, the fee for various diplomas in paramedical and certificate courses too have been specified. However, there would be no adjustment or refund for the fee already paid.
Students from the college held several protests over the past two years demanding their college fee be reduced and brought on par with other government colleges in the state. The Erode Government College and the Raja Muthiah Medical College and Hospital in Chidambaram were the only colleges to charge the exorbitant fee in comparison to the other government colleges. Notably, the fee for both two colleges is fixed by the governing council of the college instead of the Tamil Nadu government.
Earlier this month, the Tamil Nadu government reduced the fees of the Raja Muthiah Medical College and Hospital in Chidambaram after continued protests by the students. This came after the college and other allied colleges that were affiliated to Annamalai University were transferred to the Health and Family Department.
However, the Erode college had been transferred to the Tamil Nadu government in 2019 and was renamed from its earlier name of Institute of Road Transport, Perundurai. Hence, protests began to be held to reduce the fee.
According to reports, the power to determine the fee in the college however remained with the Institute of Road and Transport (IRT) and not with the Department of Health and Family Welfare like other government medical colleges in the state. This college was initially started for the benefit of the children of IRT staff and was eventually taken over by the state government. A total of 30 seats are allotted to children of transport employees.