Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

NEET-PG cut-off reduced to zero; association, doctors divided 

The decision was taken following the recommendation of the Union Health Ministry. However, the move ignited fierce debate among the medical associations and practitioners.

NEW DELHI: All who appeared for the NEET PG 2023 exam will now become eligible to participate in the postgraduate counselling process. This was announced on Wednesday by the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC), which reduced the qualifying percentile for the postgraduate medical entrance exam to 'Zero' across all categories. 

The decision was taken following the recommendation of the Union Health Ministry.

However, the move ignited fierce debate among the medical associations and practitioners. While some hailed the move, others decried it, saying that it would bring down the merit and quality of future doctors. 

In an official notification, Sunil Kumar Gupta, Under Secretary, Government of India, said, "I am directed to refer to the subject mentioned above and to say that the recommendation for a reduction in the qualifying percentile for postgraduate courses for 2023 (NEET PG 2023) has been considered in the ministry. Approval of competent authority is now conveyed for reduction of qualifying percentile for NEET-PG 2023 to ‘Zero’ across all categories."

Many associations, including the Indian Medical Association (IMA), FAIMA, FORDA and UDFA, had demanded that the cut-off be reduced to accommodate NEET-PG aspirants, as over 8,000 seats in clinical and non-clinical in government and non-government colleges were vacant across the country.

In a statement, IMA said, “There is another feather in the cap of National IMA HQs, getting glorifying success in its endeavour for a reduction in the Percentile for admission to NEET PG Examination to zero.”

United Doctors Front Association National President Dr Lakshya Mittal, who had also petitioned the government on behalf of Persons with Disabilities (PwD) who could not participate in the ongoing NEET-PG counselling session due to high cut-off, welcomed the step. Describing it as a “big victory” for the medical fraternity for NEET aspirants across the nation, he said, “A unique history has been created in NEET-PG.”

Welcoming the decision to make everyone eligible for the remaining rounds of counselling for NEET-PG 2023, the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA) said it was good news. Its president, Dr Aviral Mathur, said, “I believe that the health ministry has valid reasons for this decision, which may serve the larger interest of aspiring doctors and the healthcare system.”

But FAIMA India Chairman Dr Rohan Krishnan said the decision will “kill merit.”

“This is a very worrying trend,” he told this paper. He said reducing the cut-off to Zero is making a mockery of medical education in India and bringing down the healthcare standard. “This will promote corruption and high fees in private medical colleges.”

Many doctors took to social media to raise objections to the cut-off. Dr Deepak Krishnamurthy, the senior interventional cardiologist at Sakra World Hospital, Bengaluru, posted on X (formerly Twitter), “Zero percentile is the new cut-off! It is high time patients ask their treating doctors about their academic performance and how they got into their MBBS, PG and super speciality.”

Dr Dhruv Chauhan, who is the national zonal coordinator of the Indian Medical Association-Medical Students Network (IMA-MSN ), said that a student scoring 400 and a student scoring 0 will be equal since both can get seats shows the death of merit of deserving candidates. “Increase in corruption and PG seat prices in private college due to increased number of candidates. Only those with money will become specialists since the rest will not get seats if they don’t have the privilege of assets,” he posted on X.

Earlier, the NEET PG cut-off percentile was 50 percentile for unreserved categories, 45 percentile for PwD categories, and 40 percentile for reserved category students.  However, last year, it was reduced to the 35 percentile for the general category; the 20 percentile for PwD, and SC, ST and OBC went down to the 20 percentile.

The New Indian Express