NEW DELHI: In a move aimed at helping hundreds of thousands of medical students looking to pursue masters in medicine, the Union health ministry has proposed to scrap the NEET-PG exam. This means MBBS final exam results will be enough for admission to PG courses in medicine.
The changes have been made on the directions of the PMO, sources said.
“According to the amendments made in the fresh NMC Bill, entry into the PG programmes will be on the basis of the results of the National Exit Test (NEXT), which would be held as a common exam across the country. So, the candidates would not have to appear in a separate exam after clearing the MBBS final exam for admission to PG courses,” the source added.
However, one would need to clear a separate exam for admission into PG courses in AIIMS, NEET Super Speciality, the national entrance test for DM/MCh courses, will continue.
It is estimated that close to 1.5 lakh students take the entrance exams for admission to 50,000-odd PG seats.
On the other hand, over 80,000 students take admission into MBBS courses in over 480 medical colleges across the country.
According to the proposal, the students will not have to write a separate exam after MBBS to obtain the licence to practise.
The National Medical Commission Bill was introduced in Parliament in December 2017, but lapsed as the tenure of the 16th Lok Sabha ended.
The first version of the Bill proposed a national-level licentiate exam for all MBBS graduates for getting a licence to practise in India. It was removed following strong protests by several doctor bodies.
The provision of the bridge course was also strongly opposed by health bodies, including the Indian Medical Association. It was alleged that allowing AYUSH doctors to practise modern medicine would promote quackery, while the ministry thought the provision would address the acute shortage of doctors.
The parliamentary panel gave its recommendations in March 2018, following which the health ministry scrapped the provision of bridge course.
“It has been left to State governments to take necessary measures for addressing and promoting primary health care in rural areas,” the amendment stated. The amended draft also made punishments stricter for unauthorised practice with imprisonment of up to one year along with a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh.