Mumbai: Fifty percent reservation for government medical officers doing 3 year posting in rural areas in post graduate courses as laid down in the draft Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016, has raised certain apprehensions in the minds of students, doctors and parents. They are of the opinion that the limited number of post graduate seats with a 50% reservation in favour of government medical officers, would deprive the meritorious an opportunity to study in the country.
However, TOI has recently reported that according to an official source in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the fifty percent reservation in post graduate courses for government medical officers will continue to be at the discretion of the state governments.
Clarifying it further, the ministry official said the draft amendment bill, 2016 merely enables the provisions, and is not mandatory. It is believed that the Maharashtra Government which already allows 25% reservation for medical officers, is likely to continue with the policy.
The draft bill unveiled by the Health Ministry on Thursday, has also introduced a mandatory Exit Test (NEXT) for all medical students before they acquire their degree and the ‘Dr’ tag that accompanies it. NEXT is also to act as a substitute for NEET, for PG admissions, the foreign graduate medical examination and the recruitment exam for central health services. While NEXT has elicited a mixed response from those affected by it, the reservation policy for medical officers faces stiff opposition, from quite a few, who are likely to feel its impact in the medical fraternity.
“We have limited seats in postgraduate courses. We can’t have a 50% reservation for medical officers. It will affect the chances of meritorious candidates and they will be forced to go abroad,” said Ruiee Kapoor, parent of an MBBS student. “The government needs to clarify the provisions of the bill,” said another parent.
Dr Pravin Shingare, Director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research, said the state government has been following a reservation of 25% for close to 30 years. “Right now we do not wish to increase it, unless there is a change in the state’s policy, which is unlikely,” he added.