Srinagar: The Issue of four MBBS candidates who hadn’t cleared their postgraduate National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET-PG) 2018 exam having been included in the state merit list based on incentive marks have led to the J&K Board of Professional Entrance Examinations (BOPEE) take a decision to approach the Medical Council of India (MCI) for direction on the controversial selection of these four.
The BOPEE on March 13 had issued a notification declaring the merit list of candidates who had been given the incentive marks for remote and difficult area services rendered.
The National Board of Examinations (NBE), which conducts the NEET PG, for this year, kept the minimum qualifying/cut off score for general category (unreserved) candidates at 321 marks and allocated 281 marks for the reserved category. The four candidates who hadn’t qualified the NEET had been given the incentive marks or DAM as they are called, leading to their selection in the merit list.
The MCI Joint Secretary (PG), Dr Rajendra Wabale, however, clarified to Greater Kashmir that incentives marks could not be considered for helping candidates qualify NEET.
BOPEE amidst the prevailing controversy issued a notification on Monday titled “eligibility of candidates under NEET PG with less than qualifying score and award of difficult area marks”. In an attempt to justify the selection of the failed four the board in the notice has mentioned an “MCI regulation” about awarding incentive marks to in-service candidates who hadn’t qualified NEET.
The notification also mentioned a 2016 writ petition wherein “High Court had extended the benefit of 30 percent weightage to a candidate who had not passed state common entrance test (CET) but passed after adding difficult area marks”. The incentive marks or DAM of 10, 20 or 30 percent is awarded to a doctor for serving in a difficult area for one, two or three years respectively.
However, the inclusion of the four failed NEET PG students in the merit list also contradicts the Board’s own information brochure which clearly states that “only such candidates shall be eligible for the award of difficult area marks, who have secured the qualifying marks as fixed by the NBE”.
Soon after Greater Kashmir carried the story on March 17, the BOPEE issued a corrigendum stating that the para in the brochure that “only such candidates shall be eligible for the award of difficult area marks who have secured the qualifying marks as fixed by the NBE” shall always be deemed to have been deleted.
Apprehensive about the Council reaction to the merit list which includes the four NEETPG failures, a fresh notice has been issued by BOPEE. This notice states that any candidate found ineligible at any stage of admission, “shall be thrown out of admission process”.
However the body still awaits direction from the Medical Council on the matter, said a senior BOPEE official.