A Right to Information (RTI) reveals that the National Board of Examination (NBE) collected Rs. 48 crore as NEET-PG application fees, though it may have spent merely a third of that amount to conduct the examination. NBE is an autonomous government agency that conducts the national entrance test for the postgraduate medical courses. Students allege that even after deducting the labor charges and other logistics, the NBE would’ve made a profit of over Rs 30 crore when ideally it should have subsidized the fees.
The NBE charges Rs. 3750 from each student from the general and OBC categories for applying for the test. Meanwhile, Institutes like AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Education and Research) charges Rs. 1000 and Rs. 1600 for the applications respectively.
A medical student from MGIMS, Sevagram, Khader Meeran, said that this huge disparity between the application fees charged for NEET-PG and AIIMS-PG triggered him to file an RTI with both the institutions. Over the last two years, NBE has charged Rs. 66.38 crore more than what it paid to a  third-party agency for conducting NEET-PG alone. He also adds that despite charging a lower application fee, AIIMS has made only Rs 3.47 crore in PG entrance during the same period. He further said that even if costs on other logistics and labor work out to Rs 8 crore, the board would’ve made a profit of over Rs 30 crore this year. He also alleges that the NBE did not provide data regarding other expenses even after appeals.
Dr. Rashmikant Dave, NBE’s executive director said that the fees had been kept constant since 2013 at Rs. 3750 for general and Rs 2,750 for reserved category students. “There has been a marked increase in indirect expenses of subject experts contributing to the question bank, validation of the question bank, the setting of question papers, independent appraisers being appointed at each center, increase in geographical coverage of the exam, payment to NBE employees etc,” he added. He also added that the NBE doesn’t have any faculty member of its own and incurs heavy expenditure on remuneration and boarding. NBE has significantly enhanced the security at the test center by a compulsory deployment of jammers and hand-held metal detectors at each center. “NBE does not take any grant whatsoever from the government and is self-sustaining. Thus, the fee structure of NBE should not be compared with any other organization,” said Dave.
The NBE had appointed Prometric as the third party to conduct the test in 2017. But this year the contract was given to TCS, the same firm which conducts the exams for AIIMS. It is disclosed in the RTI that while Prometric was paid Rs 17 crore, TCS was paid Rs.8 crore! Yes, the disparities in fees are high!

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