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Bhopal: The Central government earned more than Rs 192 crore through counselling for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) in 2019, according to information received under the RTI.

The NEET is held for admission to MBBS, BDS and other such courses in medical colleges. Those who clear the written entrance exam are called for counselling, for which the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) started a registration fee of Rs 1,000 in 2018-19.

Replying to a RTI query from Neemuch-based activist Chandrashekhar Gaud, the Union Health Ministry said it collected Rs 192,43,22,162 as registration amount from the 15,19,375 students, who enrolled themselves for counselling in 2019.

Though the MCC claims to be a not-for-profit organisation that makes arrangements for the counselling from the funds collected through registrations, it is yet to give details of how it spent the Rs 192,43,22,162 it collected this year.

Last year, the Committee collected Rs 18,32,87,500 in registrations and spent
Rs 2,76,78,614 on conducting the counselling. The MCC claimed to have deposited the remaining amount of Rs 15,56,08,886 in the Central government's account.

While the Health Ministry, in its RTI reply, said the MCC decided to impose the registration fee on the advice of the Health and Family Welfare Department, it hasn't given details of how that the department arrived at that figure.

Gaud said the amount collected by the government as registration fee in 2018-19 and the interest earned on it was enough to conduct the counselling process for the next several years, and the government must, therefore, think about putting an end to the registration fee.

"It must also be transparent with the students, who pay for their counselling, and tell them what it did with the surplus money," he added.

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