Chennai: The Tamil Nadu Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill to provide 7.5 per cent horizontal reservation on a preferential basis in medical admissions for state government school students who clear the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).
The move will benefit over 300 poor students annually and will be implemented from this year onwards.
Piloting the bill, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said the AIADMK government took a policy decision to implement this horizontal reservation based on the recommendation of a commission headed by retired high court judge P Kalaiyarasan.
"The Cabinet gave its approval at the meetings held on June 15 and July 14, respectively and accordingly the Bill has been brought," Palaniswmi said, adding, the move would help many rural and poor students realise their dreams of becoming a doctor.
The reservation would be available for undergraduate programmes in medicine, dentistry, Indian medicine and homoeopathy but it would not apply to seats reserved for all India quota.
Students who studied in government schools shall also be entitled to compete for the government seats, other than those set apart on preferential basis, along with those who studied in private schools, said a provision in the legislation.
Those students, who studied from Class 6 to Higher Secondary in government schools, including those run by local bodies, and have qualified the NEET, would benefit from the legislation.
In its report, the commission has observed that students of the government schools were placed at a disadvantageous position compared to their counterparts in private schools owing to various reasons.
These include "cognitive gap created by socio-economic factors such as caste, wealth, parental occupation, parental education and gender and these psychological and socio-economic barriers cannot be bridged by a few months of intensive coaching for NEET, even if provided for free," it said.
The bill was unanimously passed by a voice vote, Speaker P Dhanapal said.