The Supreme Court on Friday, in an interim order, allowed resumption of medical counselling for NEET-PG admissions for the year 2021-22 and upheld the validity of 27 per cent OBC quota and 10 per cent reservation for the EWS category.
For the academic year 2021-22, candidates whose yearly family income is less than Rs 8 lakh will be eligible to participate in NEET PG counselling for EWS quota seats. The OBC quota will also continue to be in place. The stakeholders, however, have shared mixed reactions to the apex court’s verdict.
AIIMS Rishikesh Professor, Dr Amit Gupta, told indianexpress.com that the verdict is aimed at expediting the induction of doctors in hospitals in view of the third wave of Covid-19.
“Last year, no batch of resident doctors was taken onboard. The third wave has already arrived and the hospitals are not equipped with enough doctors to handle the workload. With the declaration, NEET-PG counselling is expected to be fast-tracked and a fresh cadre of doctors will join the hospitals,” Gupta said.
Experts and academicians are also of the view that reservation quota cannot be implemented on the existing all India quota as it will minimize opportunities for general-category candidates.
Head of career counselling at Allen Career Institute, Kota, Parijat Mishra, said, “The court’s decision is a well-thought verdict. But, the general category seats should not be reduced while implementing the EWS, OBC quota. Many premier institutes have introduced supernumerary seats to increase the seats and introduce reservations. Medical colleges will have to follow suit.”
Khushi Tiwari from Rajasthan’s Karauli cleared NEET-PG 2021 in the general category with 74 per cent marks and is waiting for the counselling process to begin. She feels that the reserved quota will promote inequality.
“NEET-PG candidates are already qualified doctors with an MBBS degree. Those who are in genuine need of relaxations are provided with the EWS, OBC quota in NEET-UG itself. Having reservations at two different levels are likely to impact the chances of general-category students,” said the 23-year old, who completed her MBBS in January 2021.
She added that Rs 8 lakh for deciding EWS status is a far too generous slab. “The income status of candidates may differ based on the states. For example, earning a certain amount of money may not be difficult in a city like Mumbai but it will be impossible for a rural farmer in a Rajasthan village. The move is most likely to create disparity and impact the quality of doctors,” Khushi said.
Son of a small shop owner in Haryana’s Ganaur town, Kamal Garg cracked the NEET-PG 2021 with 80 per cent under the EWS category. However, he feels that reserving the existing seats will create disparity among the candidates.
“The general category seats are going to be short by 37 per cent (10 per cent EWS and 27 per cent OBC). It will induce discrimination between the students. As an EWS candidate, I welcome the move but at the same time, I would not like to snatch someone else’s opportunity,” said Kamal, who completed MBBS from Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi, in 2020.