The government has announced reservations for the OBC and economically weaker sections of the society for the medical education seats. The NEET examination which will be the entrance exam for all medical seats in the country is going to be held on 12th and 13th September 2021 for PG and UG students respectively. . The Tamilnadu government has separately filed a case in the apex court for getting freedom from NEET etc.
Reservation has always been a touchy and sensitive issue with many in the country especially those who do not fall under any category and fall under what is termed as the General category. Recently the Maharashtra government has also advanced reservation status for Marathas. There is always a demand for reservation under various categories and mainly based on religion and caste.
Naturally, any announcement by any government on reservation brings much anxiety to this general class who always feel cheated by such announcements. And why not, there is a wide difference between the efforts that are put by the general class student and others who fall under reservation.
However, this particular announcement regarding the reservation by the minister of health Sh Mansukh Bhai Mandaviya is different in the sense that it will not affect the general class category students.
Let us see how this will benefit more than 5000 students every year without affecting the general student category students. This decision which will come into effect from the current academic year would benefit nearly 1,500 OBC students in MBBS and 2,500 OBC students in post-graduation every year, the government said.
The government has announced a 27 percent reservation for OBCs and a 10 percent quota for the economically weaker sections in the all-India quota scheme for undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses. The new reservation provision will be implemented in this year’s admission as well, the government said. All undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses, including dental, will have reservations for OBCs and economically weak sections from 2021-22 onwards. Nearly 1,500 OBC students in MBBS and 2,500 OBC students in postgraduation will be benefited from this reservation every year, apart from 550 students from the economically weaker sections in MBBS and around 1,000 in the post-graduation, every year.
Looking at the importance of the policy, PM Modi himself announcing his government’s decision, in a Twitter post, said: “This will immensely help thousands of our youth every year get better opportunities and create a new paradigm of social justice in our country.” PM Mod has taken a special interest in both the class and held a series of meetings in this regard with the respective ministries of education and health. Thus it can be also seen as a commitment fulfillment on behalf of the govt and PM Modi himself.
The move was necessitated as the uniform 27 percent reservation for OBCs was not extended to the AIQ seats of state medical and dental colleges. The AIQ scheme was introduced in 1986 under the directions of the Supreme Court to provide domicile-free merit-based opportunities to students from any state to aspire to study in a good medical college in another state. According to the Ministry, there was no reservation in the AIQ scheme up to 2007 — that year, the Supreme Court introduced a reservation of 15 percent for SCs and 7.5 percent for STs in the AIQ scheme.
“When the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act became effective in 2007 providing for uniform 27 per cent reservation to OBCs, the same was implemented in all the Central Educational Institutions viz. Safdarjung Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University and Banaras Hindu University, etc. However, this was not extended to the AIQ seats of State medical and dental colleges,” the Ministry said.
The government, it said, is “committed to providing due reservation both to the backward category as well as the EWS category”.
Why it will not affect the general category student:
“In order to provide benefits to students belonging to the EWS category in admission to higher educational institutions, a Constitutional amendment was made in 2019 which enabled the provision of 10 percent reservation for EWS category. Accordingly, seats in medical/dental colleges were increased over two years in 2019-20 and 2020-21 to accommodate this additional 10 percent EWS reservation so that the total number of seats available for the unreserved category do not reduce. In the AIQ seats, however, this benefit had not been extended so far,” the Ministry said.
The “central pool” is the All India Quota (AIQ) and students across the country are eligible to apply for admission to this. The apex court had earlier ruled that the state reservation policy will apply to state seats and the AIQ seats as well.
In total 15 percent of undergraduate and 50 percent of postgraduate seats of state government medical colleges are earmarked as all India quota. For admission, SC and ST aspirants have reservations in this quota, but there is no reservation for OBCs.
“During the last six years, MBBS seats in the country have increased by 56 percent from 54,348 in 2014 to 84,649 in 2020. The number of PG seats has increased by 80 percent — from 30,191in 2014 to 54,275 in 2020. During the same period, 179 new medical colleges have been established; the country now has 558 (Govt: 289, Pvt: 269) medical colleges,” it said. “These seats have been increased in State Government’s Colleges, State Government aided Society run Colleges, Municipal Corporation’s Colleges and Colleges set up on Private Public Mode (PPP mode) for the academic session 2019-20,” former Minister of State for Health Ashwinin Kumar Choubey had said.
The increased seats will make sure that there is any discrimination or unfair practice. The government’s move will be in line to promote OBC and especially the economically weaker section of the society. However, the government must keep a minimum threshold in all types of reservation categories so that a minimum standard can be kept in professional studies.
Dr. Asheesh Shah
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