PG medical aspirants set to lose a year as EWS income-cap case prolongs

Govt surgeon suspended after botched operation at pvt hospital leads to patient's death

New Delhi: The whole admission process to the Post-Graduate (PG) medical courses in India has stalled as the Supreme Court is yet to take a call on the crucial income cap for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) among the forward communities eligible for seat reservation.

Almost 1.6 lakh young doctors, who are expecting PG admissions this year in the All-India Quota, are now apprehensive that they are going to lose a precious academic year as the admission process is already late by nearly a year owing to the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Adding to their concern the court proceedings in the case has prolonged.

The Central Government has announced that it would not start PG counselling till January 6 when the Supreme Court takes up the EWS income limit case. The court proceedings are delayed as the government is mulling a rethink on the Rs 8 lakh income limit which would enable the EWS catergory to claim reservation benefits.

(The annual family income limit for EWS category is now Rs 8 lakh at the Central-level and Rs 4 lakh in Kerala. The States can take an independent decision on fixing this amount.)

The Central Government has already informed the Supreme Court that it is going to implement the reservation for forward communities this year itself based on the recommendations of the special committee appointed for this purpose.

Even if the Central Government informs the Supreme Court of its decision on January 6, the counselling process would get delayed. Even if a decision is arrived at in January, the counselling would be held only in February and March. Other cases pending in the Supreme Court related to reservation for the forward communities are also causing delay in conducting counselling for admission.

The PG admission process, which was supposed to be held in January this year, got delayed due to COVID-19 crisis. The counselling, which was fixed for September, was halted due to the upcoming income limit case in the Supreme Court. It is expected that the new schedule for counselling would be released by the National Medical Commission (NMC) soon.

High workload on PG resident doctors
Meanwhile, PG resident doctors, who are continuing with their work till the new batch comes, are also very desperate. They are tired of continuous shifts and heavy work. With counselling for PG admissions getting prolonged this year, there is a shortage of PG resident doctors in many medical colleges across the country.

Agitation from Saturday
The PG resident doctors, who have been asked to continue with their job by the NMC till the new batch joins for work, have threatened to launch agitation from December 1 if the Central Government fails to conduct counselling with immediate effect and find a solution to the crisis. The decision was announced by Dr Rajesh Bagdi. the leader of the Federation of All-India Medical Associations. The Federation also announced that they would not report for OP duty from Saturday.

Uncertainty prevails over Kerala graduate admission
Uncertainty prevails over admission to MBBS and BDS programmes in Kerala even though the State rank list for medical degree admissions is set to be published on Saturday, Nov 27.

(The Kerala rank list of medical and other allied degree courses will be published on the website of the Commissioner of the Entrance Examination: by Saturday evening.)

Only if the NMC publishes the schedule, seat allotment can be made after inviting options. The existing practice is to conduct all-India Quota allotment first and then go for State allotment. The second-level State allotment will be done after the second all-India allotment.

The Central Government has already informed the Supreme Court that the family income limit would be revised. Though the case going on in the Supreme Court deals with the issue of fixing annual family income limit for PG admissions, the degree admissions will also have to be held as per the newly fixed annual income limit.

Only after a final decision comes out, the medical degree admission as per all-India and State allotment lists will be held. The admission to 15 percent of seats in government medical colleges is filled from the All-India quota. If there is any revision in the EWS income limit for All-India Quota, the certificates given by students on the basis of the Rs 8 lakh income limit will have to be changed. Even if the Supreme Court's decision comes, only if we get an idea about the Centre's schedule, the State Government will be able to start allotment.  

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