New Delhi: The application process for this year’s National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Under-Graduate medical courses, NEET 2019 has come to an end but the Persons with Disabilities (PwD) candidates have still received no clarity over disability guidelines for MBBS/BDS Courses.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) had activated the one-time Correction Facility window for NEET 2019, which stayed open from 14.01.2019, 11:a.m. to 31.01.2019, 11:50 p.m. Candidates, who accidentally submitted incorrect data during the application process, were given a chance to correct it to make their data error-free.
In its earlier notification, the NTA had invited applications from the PwD Candidates, who are intending to pursue MBBS and BDS courses, asking them to fill up the application forms on the basis of the draft guidelines. If by any chance any update would have come from the Medical Council of India (MCI), the candidates were to be given a chance to correct their details through the correction facility.
The NTA had stated,
“As per the advice received from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India vide letter dated 20.11.2018, it is hereby informed that the PwD candidates may fill in the Online Application Form of NEET (UG) – 2019 on the basis of the draft guidelines placed on the website of the Medical Council of India (MCI).
… In case, any changes are made in the draft notification by MCI, the candidate may correct the particulars of the application at the time when correction facility in the application form is available i.e. from 14.01.2019 to 31.01.2019.”
However, as the draft has not been finalised; no further clarity has been given by the MCI regarding the eligibility of PwD medical aspirants. The correction facility window is also closed by now leaving disabled candidates with ambiguous guidelines.
Medical Dialogues team has extensively reported about the setback that disabled candidates have been facing when it comes to MBBS/BDS admission. Even the last MBBS admission session saw a series of petitions being filed before various courts including the apex court in the country, calling the MCI guidelines arbitrary, discriminatory and also standing in violation of the Disabilities Act.
On November 16, the MCI released the new amendments to the disability rules for MBBS admissions inviting public comments. Medical Dialogues was the first to report about these amendments and their lack of incorporation in the NEET 2019 brochure for the benefit of the current students.
The dilemma for such candidates was made worse for the candidates as, by the time MCI finalised the new guidelines, the application process of NEET 2019 would be over.
Medical Activists under the umbrella organisation Doctors with Disabilities- Agents of Change wrote to the MCI Board of Governors providing point by point response on the amendments and also demanding that the NEET 2019 deadline be extended till the amendments are finalised so that current candidates as also able to take benefit of the revised guidelines.
Following this, the deadline was extended and NTA invited application from disabled candidates on the basis of the drafted guidelines.