The National Examination Board (NBE) has lowered the NEET-PG threshold by 15 percentiles to fill more than 6,000 places in postgraduate medicine courses that remain vacant even after two consultation rounds. The NBE conducts NEET-PG, the qualification tests for these PG courses, in the country.
The NEET-PG limits have been revised to 35 percentile for general category students, 30 percentile for persons with disabilities, and 25 percentile for SC, ST or OBC candidates, according to the NBE.
For just over 42,000 PG seats across the country, about 1.5 lakh doctors apply for NEET-PG after completing their MBBS degree and a one-year compulsory internship. Despite the number of doctors applying for PG courses being more than three times the number of seats, according to the NBE, 6,266 seats have remained vacant for the final NEET-PG round of clearance in 2021.
In 2020, there were a total of 1,425 PG seats that remained vacant even after the counseling clearing round, according to data provided by the Union Health Ministry in Lok Sabha.
The limit values were revised by the testing authority in the instructions of the Ministry of Health issued on Saturday. In a letter from the Secretary of the Medical Counseling Committee, Dr. B Srinivas, to the Executive Director of the NBE, Dr. Minu Bajpai, states: “After sufficient discussion and deliberation, MoHFW, in consultation with NMC, has decided to reduce the lockdown. In view of the above, you are kindly requested to declare the revised result and send revised result details of newly eligible candidates.
The move was welcomed by doctors’ associations, which had previously made a similar demand. “This is a good move by the government and much needed. This year, the exams were postponed twice because of Covid-19, and in the meantime many (doctors) worked in the Covid wards, got Covid themselves and some lost their relatives,” said Dr. Rohan Krishnan, Federation of All India Medical Associations (FAIMA) president.
That was necessary, he said, to ensure that all places fill up and the existing PG students do not remain “overburdened” again. “We need more doctors now, more than 6,000 seats cannot remain vacant,” he said. The PG students also work in the affiliated hospitals as junior residents.
Doctors affiliated with FAIMA and the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association went on strike in December last year after counseling was postponed due to lawsuits following a six-month delay in the investigation.