January 30, 2011

Ministry holds MCI orders on CET ‘invalid’

Taken aback by the Medical Council of India's notifications for holding common entrance tests to graduate and post- graduate courses, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Monday declared the two notifications “invalid” and directed the MCI to withdraw these with immediate effect.

The Ministry, in a letter to S.K. Sarin, chairman of the Board of Governors of the MCI, said the notifications were issued without prior approval as required under Section 33 of the Indian Medical Council Act, 2010.

The notifications were issued ahead of a meeting of State Health Ministers and secretaries, which was to discuss the matter for arriving at a consensus before taking the final call. The meeting, to be chaired by Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, was to take on board all shades of opinions on the matter of National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for MBBS. However, no discussion on a common entrance test for PG courses was on the agenda for the meeting, scheduled from January 11 to 13, that would also take up the introduction of Bachelor in Rural Health Care course, among other things.

The common entrance test for MBBS had been opposed by many States, and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Karunanidhi had even spoken to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on it, following which the notification was put on the hold by the Health Ministry. Some private medical colleges and even the Tamil Nadu government had moved the Supreme Court. The court, in its last order, said it would not come in the way of notifying the common entrance test or anyone moving the court against it. Soon after, the Ministry decided to hold the meeting with the States and other stakeholders for a wider consensus. These instructions were passed to the MCI also to ensure that the notification on the MBBS entrance examination was put on hold.

Sources in the Ministry told The Hindu that while it was in favour of a common entrance test and had “in principle” approved it, it was a sensitive issue and could not be decided without taking the States on board. Also, there was no agency which would hold an all-India test of such a magnitude.

The MCI issued the two notifications on December 21 saying the Ministry had approved both. One that amended the Regulations on Graduate Medical Education said the NEET would be the criterion for selection to the MBBS and the marks obtained in mathematics in Class XII would also be considered for admission.

“In order to be eligible for admission to MBBS course for a particular academic year, it shall be necessary for a candidate to obtain a minimum 50 per cent marks in each paper of NEET. However, in respect of candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes, the minimum percentage marks shall be 40 and in respect of candidates with locomotory disability of lower limbs, the percentage shall be 45.''

Single test

According to the second notification that amends Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000, there shall be a single NEET for admission to post-graduate courses, the overall superintendence, direction and control of which will vest with the MCI.

Three per cent seats of the annual sanctioned intake capacity will be reserved for candidates with locomotory disability of lower limbs.

For private institutions, the notification says 50 per cent of the total seats shall be filled by the State government and the remaining by the institutions or medical colleges concerned on the basis of a merit list.

Link: Original Article

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