10 per cent quota for economically weaker sections unlikely for medical colleges this year

Students about to take NEET this year were hoping the new quota would create about 16,000 more seats. But the medical regulator seems reluctant to implement it.

Published: 29th January 2019 08:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th January 2019 08:55 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Medical colleges will probably be the only institutes of higher education in the country where the Centre’s new 10 per cent quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) will not be implemented this year.

This is because the number of seats — in both government and private colleges — can’t be increased by 25 per cent unless changes are made to the Indian Medical Council Act, sources in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

The Central government had said that to reserve 10 per cent of seats for the upper caste poor without affecting other candidates, the number of seats in higher education institutions would have to be increased by 25 per cent.

“We wrote to the medical education regulator, saying that as per the 103rd Constitutional amendment, a new category of EWS seats need to be created from this year, and hence, the intake of students must be increased by 25 per cent,” a senior Health Ministry official told this newspaper. “However, a 25 per cent increase in seats is likely only from the 2020 academic session as the rules prescribe increased infrastructure and are strict about the faculty-to-student ratio,” the official added.

“Medical colleges that want to admit more students need to apply before July, and then, a detailed inspection is carried out before they get the go-ahead. This usually takes about a year.”

India has about 450 medical colleges, offering nearly 55,000 MBBS seats every year. Students about to take NEET, the entrance exam for medical colleges, this year were hoping the new quota would create about 16,000 more seats. But the medical regulator seems reluctant to implement it.

Sources in the MCI-Board of Governors (the MCI was superseded by a BOG last year), said that under the current provisions, medical colleges can’t admit more than 250 MBBS students every year, and some colleges have already reached the limit.

“We are giving institutions two years to increase their intake. So, those that are not comfortable doing it in one go can raise the student intake by 10-15 per cent this session,” said a HRD Ministry official.

‘Will push IITs, IIMs to increase seats’

Officials in the Union Human Resources Development Ministry said that though some IITs and IIMs expressed inability to increase the number of seats this year, citing infrastructure and faculty issues, they would be pushed to admit more students to implement the EWS reservation

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