Simultaneous Common Counselling for PG Medical Admissions under news rules envisaged
New Delhi: Amid all the objections and concerns regarding Common PG Medical counselling, the National Medical Commission (NMC) officials has recently clarified that the counselling process, as envisaged under "The Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations, 2021" would not interfere with the autonomy of the States.
Dr. M. K. Ramesh, the President of the PG Medical Education Board of NMC recently assured the Indian Medical Association (IMA) officials that the purpose of the common counselling is only to hold the State and Central Counselling simultaneously as it would be time-saving and also reduce the anguish of the students.
"The common counselling doesn't mean that the seats would be snatched away from the States. It will be like earlier only, meaning the seats would be distributed between State and Centre on 50-50 basis," Dr. Ramesh confirmed to Medical Dialogues.
"Earlier the State and Central counselling would take place at different times in multiple rounds. However, with common counselling, it would happen simultaneously. It will be straightway select as the student will get to know what seats they will secure according to State and Central merit list. It will save time and also reduce anguish among the students as they would not have to wait for the next counselling to happen and they can select their seats at one go," he added.
Medical Dialogues had recently reported that in the Draft Regulations, NMC specified common counselling for PG medical courses which was set to be conducted by the Centre.
Section 11 of the Draft Regulations describes the concept of Common Counseling for PG medical admissions. It states that the Directorate General of Health Services, operative under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare would be the responsible authority for the counselling of all the seats of PG medical admissions.
"There shall be a common counseling for admission in all Medical Educational Institutions to all Postgraduate Broad -Specialty courses (Diploma/ MD/ MS) on the basis of merit list of the National Exit Test and to all Postgraduate SuperSpecialty courses (DM/MCh) on the basis of merit list of the National Eligibilitycum-Entrance Test," mentioned Section 11 of the Draft.
"The Designated Authority for counselling for all the postgraduate broad specialty seats in the country for eligible institutions under the National Medical Commission (both the 50% All India Quota seats of the contributing States and the 50% State Quota seats including all applicable reservations) shall be the Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India," states the Section 11.2 of the Draft.
Further, Section 11.3 mentions, "The Designated Authority for counselling for all the Postgraduate SuperSpecialty seats in the country for eligible institutions under the National Medical Commission shall be the Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India "
With this, it was assumed that all the States would possibly lose their control over the 50% State Quota seats and these seats would also be controlled by DGHS instead.
The move, however, met opposition from many in the medical fraternity as well as respective states who had stated that the move would undermine the role of states in the PG medical admission process and would negatively affect the healthcare system of the country as healthcare is still a state subject.
Indian Medical Association (IMA) had vehemently objected to this idea and the Association had mentioned in its release that the new regulations would ensure that these entire seats will be filled by the central government and state governments will have no role in this.
"India being a federal state, leaving the role of states in Medical Education will be disastrous," the association had earlier mentioned.
However, when the objections and concerns were submitted before the NMC PG Medical Education Board, Dr. Ramesh, the President of the Board discussed the matter with IMA members recently and clarified that the autonomy of the States would not be compromised as the common counselling would only ensure that the counselling is being done simultaneously.
Speaking to Medical Dialogues, Dr. Ramesh confirmed about the recent meeting with IMA members.
"I had put Medical Education Regulations on Public Domain inviting public comments. One month time was given and 31st August was the last date for objections. In the meanwhile, IMA expressed its concern that with the regulations, the autonomy of the States would be compromised. I thought it would be better to talk to them and clear the doubts because it is not our intention to impose anything. So I spoke to the president of IMA Dr. Jayalal, and Secretary Dr. Lele and we had a meeting for almost two hours and point by point all the issues were discussed," said Dr. Ramesh.
"The main objection was regarding the common counselling and I clarified that it doesn't mean that the seats would be snatched away from the States. It will be like earlier only, meaning the seats would be distributed between State and Centre on 50-50 basis," he added.
Further mentioning that this move would reduce anguish among the students, Dr. Ramesh added, "Earlier the State and Central counselling would take place at different times in multiple rounds. However, with common counselling, the counseling would happen simultaneously. Some people have expressed their concerns that the students would have to come to Delhi for counselling. This is not true as it would be conducted in their own states only. Besides, it will be straightway select as the student will get to know what seats they will secure according to the State and Central merit list. It will save time and also reduce anguish among the students as they would not have to wait for the next counseling to happen and they can select their seats at one go. But the reservations and other norms would remain as per the States and we would not change that."
Referring to the meeting, he also mentioned that the time duration of the District Residency Programme was also discussed and IMA suggested that the time duration should be reduced to 1 month from the proposed three months. "We said we will consider this," added Dr Ramesh.
"I believe all these things should be sorted out through discussions and dialogues and we had a friendly discussion regarding the concerns they had raised," he further mentioned.
While commenting on the matter, IMA Chief Dr. Jayalal said, "We are happy with the discussion and it was fruitful. Most of the apprehensions that we raised were clarified and taken in a positive way. So, if the PG Draft Regulation comes with these modifications, we will be welcoming this."
"The need for minimum stipend was also discussed, as students studying the same curriculum get a different stipend in different states of the country. In some places, they get Rs 1 lakh per month, whereas in some other states, they do not get even Rs 15,000. So, we emphasized that there should at least be a basic minimum stipend that the students should get," he added.
Dr MK Ramesh has also confirmed that even though the NEXT score will be valid for three years, candidates not satisfied with their scores will have the option to improve it by appearing for the test again the next year.