What is the matter all about
MBBS doctors, who have finished their courses including internship, appear for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for postgraduate courses (NEET-PG) to take admission for a particular stream such as medicine or surgery. Exam usually held in January. In November 2020, National Board of Examination that conducts the exams postponed it due to Covid-19 until further notice. It was rescheduled for April but pushed to September, when it was finally conducted. However, the counselling and admission process for those PG candidates who work as junior residents alongside their training, could not begin due to a clutch of cases pending in Supreme Court regarding the new quota for economically weaker sections.
Why case in Supreme Court
A bunch of petitions have been filed in SC challenging the July 29 notification of the Centre and the Medical Counselling Committee to provide 27% reservation to OBC and 10% to EWS students in all India quota medical seats. In November, government representative told SC it will revisit the Rs 8 lakh income criteria set for EWS reservation & take a decision in four weeks. Counselling process will not begin until then. The 10% EWS quota decision is under challenge before a five-judge bench. The matter has been listed for January 6.
How are working doctors concerned
Postgraduate students who study in these hospitals and train for three years are known as junior doctors. They are the backbone of the hospitals who assist senior doctors in surgeries and other functions. Currently, only two batches are functioning and an entire batch is missing as the first year junior residents have come in the second year and the second year junior doctors in the third. Third year students have passed and become senior residents in the same or other hospitals. Due to this, junior doctors have been burdened with work along with academic discourse. Lack of an incoming batch has resulted in one-third staff shortfall across such hospitals.
What are the doctors demanding
That the SC should fast-track the hearing and that the Union health ministry expedite the submission of a report on the chosen criteria of Rs 8 lakh annual income for eligibility of the quota. The doctors lack hands to operate hospitals and need another lot of doctors following the rise in Covid-19 cases amid Omicron scare.