NEET PG Counselling 2021: Over the past one and a half weeks, resident doctors across India have been protesting in front of the office of the Union Health Ministry, and have even stayed away from all of their duties including those in the emergency department. The protest, which itself has stretched for over a month, is regarding the delay in the counselling for NEET-PG, with doctors asking the government to expedite the matter. On Saturday, the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) released a statement urging the government to meet the demands of the doctors at the earliest to prevent the doctors from sending in mass resignations. Here’s what the NEET-PG counselling issue is, why doctors are protesting and why the matter is in court.
NEET-PG and counselling explained
NEET-PG or National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Postgraduate) is a qualifying and ranking exam, upon clearing which students can get admission to several postgraduate MD, MS and diploma courses in more than a 100 private and government medical colleges. Based on the scores and percentiles of the students in the NEET, a merit list is prepared and the entire seat pool for Diploma, MD and MS is divided into half. The first half is domicile-based, allowing students in a particular state to get admissions to colleges in the state itself, while the second half is not domicile based, allowing students to get admission to colleges anywhere across the country without needing to hail from that particular state. The allotment of seats is carried out through a centralised counselling procedure, and for the all-India quota, DGHS conducts the counselling.
However, there are five institutes that are exempted from centralised admissions through the exam. These are AIIMS, PGIMER, JIPMER, NIMHANS and SCTIMST.
NEET-PG Counselling: How to apply
For the all-India counselling of NEET-PG exam, students can only apply on the official website of the Medical Counselling Committee or MCC under the DGHS – http://mcc.nic.in/. For this, they have to register on the website for the counselling by providing the necessary details and paying the counselling registration fee. Post that students can log into their accounts on the MCC website and select their preferred choices of colleges and the courses they wish to study.
Quotas in NEET-PG Counselling
The seats for NEET-PG are allotted on the basis of the choices of the candidates, subject to availability as well as reservation. The all-India quota contains reserved seats for SC, ST, non-creamy OBC, and PwD candidates. There is also an EWS quota. As per the new reservation criteria announced for NEET PG admission starting 2021-22 academic year, the 50% all-India quota of seats would be allotted based on a 27% reservation for OBC (non-creamy), 15% for SC, 10% for EWS, 7.5% for ST and 5% for PwD candidates.
Meanwhile, the state quotas, which fall under the respective state medical councils, are subject to the reservation criteria in the particular state.
Delay in NEET-PG Counselling 2021
The coronavirus pandemic had caused the Centre to delay the exam from May to September, with the results having been announced towards the end of September. However, numerous cases about the new reservation criteria were filed in court, which caused the counselling to be delayed from the initial counselling date of October 25. Then, on November 25, the Centre told the SC that it would be reviewing the criteria of Rs 8 lakh annual income for EWS candidates, after the apex court questioned the reasoning behind the Centre arriving at this figure. However, the Centre also stated that the review process would take about 4 weeks, which means that the counselling is deferred for that long.
In the beginning of December, the Centre also constituted a committee to review the annual income criteria.
NEET-PG Counselling delay: Resident doctors’ protests
The postgraduate students who enter medical colleges, about 50,000 MBBS doctors, attend to emergency patients as junior residents. They work as per the work allotted to them and act as important support to the healthcare infrastructure and medical workforce. Due to the delay in the counselling, which has been termed by the protesting doctors as “unjustified”, the new doctors have not yet joined their colleges, and have therefore not been able to share the workload of the doctors.
It is for this reason that the doctors have been protesting, citing immense work pressure that they are not able to share with new doctors, and have been urging the Centre to expedite the counselling process.