Historic and a landmark decision made by Center under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for providing 27% reservation for OBCs and 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in the All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme for NEET, the uniform entrance examination for medical and dental colleges across the country for undergraduate and postgraduate courses from the current academic year 2021-22 onwards.
About All India Quota
- All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme was introduced in 1986 under the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court with the aims to provide for domicile-free merit based opportunities to students from any State to aspire to study in a good medical college located in another State.
- A student domiciled in Uttar Pradesh, for example, may be eligible for admission to a seat in a state government medical college in West Bengal, provided she scores high enough in the national merit list
- If her score is not high enough for AIQ, she may still hope for admission under the state quota in her home state.
- In deemed/central universities, ESIC, and Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), 100% seats are reserved under the AIQ.
- It comprises 15% of UG seats and 50% of PG seats in government medical colleges.
- Remaining chunk of the seats in state medical/dental colleges is reserved for students domiciled in their respective states
- Initially Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were not part of the AIQ but in last 2 years Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have joined the AIQ Scheme
5500 students to benefit
- This decision on medical education reservation would benefit every year nearly 1500 OBC students in MBBS and 2500 OBC students in postgraduation and
- Also around 550 EWS students in MBBS and around 1000 EWS students in postgraduation.
- Gives a Level playing field: A meritorous student from one state can study in another state and he need not give an entrance across the country and go for counselling across the country since the AIQ will provide single entrance and counselling mechanism.
What was the reservation policy followed so far?
- Initially, there was no reservation in AIQ Scheme up to 2007.
- On January 31, 2007, in Abhay Nath v University of Delhi and Others 2007 the Hon’ble Supreme Court introducedreservation of 15% for SCs and 7.5% for STs in the AIQ Scheme.
- The same year, the government passed the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2007 providing for 27% reservation to OBC students in central government institutions. [OBC Student should be from Non-Creamy layer]
- However, this was not extended to the AIQ seats of State medical and dental colleges.
- Introduction of EWS Category : The 10% EWS quota under the Constitution (One Hundred And Third Amendment) Act, 2019, too, has been implemented in central educational institutions, but not in the NEET AIQ for state institutions.
Seats in Medical Education
- MBBS Seats in the country have increased by 56% from 54,348 seats in 2014 to 84,649 seats in 2020.
- The number of PG seats have increased by 80% from 30,191seats in 2014 to 54,275 seats in 2020.
- During the same period, 179 new medical colleges have been establishedand now the country has 558 (Govt: 289, Pvt: 269) medical colleges.
What led to the decision?
- The denial of OBC and EWS reservations has been the subject of protests for years.
- In July last year, the Madras High Court ruled that OBC students too can avail reservation in the AIQ.
- It held that the reservation could not be implemented for the then academic year for want of time, and can be implemented from 2021-22.
- The pandemic has provided us an opportunity to make medical education a public good once again.
- Time has come that we reform the medical education system, end the pervasive corruption in these regulatory institutions and ensure that we carry out the expansion in such a way that we produce the required number of doctors to look after our population.
- Today’s medical education should be able to groom such professionals to face medicine of the 21st century. The Lancet report, ‘Health Professionals for a new century: transforming health education to strengthen health systems in an interdependent world’ (2010) outlines key recommendations, to transform health professional education, needs to be looked upon.
- There should be a substantial step-up in public investment in medical education.
- By establishing new medical colleges, the government can increase student intake as well as enhance equitable access to medical education.
- Besides, it must allocate adequate financial resources to strengthen the overall capacity of existing medical colleges to enrich student learning and improve output.