The Union Ministry of Health said on Friday it was delaying the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET-PG) for postgraduate medical courses – scheduled for March 12 – by six to eight weeks following calls from MBBS students to do so.
Delaying the test allows MBBC students to complete their mandatory one-year internship in time for post-exam counseling; there were delays in final exams for MBBS due to the pandemic and consequently the internship of students in several states.
The move is also likely to help candidates – who have not been awarded a postdoctoral chair in counseling for the 2021 batch – to reappear for the test.
“…many comments were received from doctors regarding the request to postpone the NEET PG-2022 examination date… as it conflicts with the NEET-PG 2021 counselling. Also, many of the interns would not be able to participate in the PG counseling 2022 by the month of May/June 2022… With the above facts in mind, the Hon’ble HFM has made the decision to postpone NEET PG 2022 with 6-8 weeks or appropriate,” read a letter from Dr. B Srinivas, Deputy Director General (Medical Education) in the Directorate General of Health Services, to the National Examination Board, which conducts the test.
The ministry’s decision came as the Supreme Court is hearing a petition from six students alleging that many MBBS graduates will not be able to appear for NEET-PG due to failure to complete the mandatory internship period.
The NEET-PG exams are normally held in January every year. However, last year’s test was held in September due to the pandemic. NEET counseling for the 2021 batch was subsequently postponed again, although the results were announced amid pending pleadings in the Supreme Court over reservation of economically weaker section. Counseling only started in January this year and will likely be extended through March-April.