This year, about 40 MBBS seats will become available at the All India Facility of Medical Sciences, India’s flagship medical education institute, across the country. The seats have been vacated at a time when just 7.5 per cent of the 1.2 million students who take the National Eligibility Cumulative Entrance Test (NEET) qualify for medical school.
Many of the AIIMS seats are empty since many of the students who applied dropped out after getting places in other medical institutes through state quotas. This has rung off warning bells, prompting education analysts to advocate for admissions changes through the central quota. Following the last mop-up round for all-India quota seats for the 2022 academic session, 39 MBBS seats remain open at the new AIIMS institutes, with AIIMS Madurai having the most (13), followed by AIIMS Patna having the fewest (six).
A lingering problem
Approximately ten seats in various AIIMS became vacant last year as well. As per sources in the Union Health Ministry, students leaving out after being admitted to newer AIIMS has been a long-standing issue. In all, 19 AIIMS centres in India provide 1,899 MBBS seats, including the famed AIIMS in Delhi. Admissions to these institutes have been made under the All India Quota for the past two years after candidates have qualified through the NEET entrance test.
Prior to 2020, there was a separate entrance test and counselling for admission to AIIMS and the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research in Puducherry, both of which are directly under the health ministry.
According to the seat matrix for this year, there were over 90,000 MBBS seats available across India, including nearly 49000 seats in government medical institutions. While there are around 2,000 places in central medical schools, there is also a 15% all-India quota in every public medical college in the country. According to officials in the health ministry’s medical education department, the problem of some seats remaining empty at newer AIIMS has continued over the previous few years.
To address this issue, the National Medical Commission (NMC) established a rule stating that once a student has been admitted through the central quota, he or she may no longer apply through the state quota. ‘However, this ruling was challenged in the Supreme Court a while back, and students with high grades, even after winning a place under the all-India quota, eventually elected to attend another institution of their choosing,’ a senior official explained.
He also stated that due to a lack of infrastructure and a faculty shortage at some new AIIMS centres, which were established to provide a medical college and hospital in various states along the lines of AIIMS Delhi, not many medical aspirants want to stay back in case they get opportunities in their home state. Academic activities for AIIMS, Madurai, for example, are being carried out from the Ramanathapuram government medical college because the institute’s facilities are not yet complete.
‘Change is needed.’
According to Jayprakash Gandhi, a career adviser and education analyst, because there is fierce rivalry for every MBBS seat in the country, the medical education authority should ensure that not a single seat is squandered. Every year, about 12 lakh (1.2 million) candidates take the NEET admission exam for India’s medical institutions. ‘In my opinion, the NMC should fight the existing case expeditiously and explain to the Court how so many MBBS seats become empty every year due to flaws in the current counselling procedure,’ he added.
Dr C V Birmanandhan, former vice-president of the Medical Council of India (before it was superseded by the NMC), suggested that simultaneous counselling for all-India and state quotas should be an option. ‘Admissions through all-India quotas are carried out before state counselling, allowing some applicants with high NEET scores to cherry-pick a medical institution. However, it is a loss of a very valuable resource because the government is spending a lot of money to construct other AIIMS-like facilities across India,’ he added. NMC officials informed Moneycontrol that they will raise the issue with the government.
Post Your Comments