Experts raise concern over 300 NEET PG seats remaining vacant, suggest solutions

The president of the Federation of All India Medical Association Dr Rohan Krishnan had a discussion with the health ministry on the issue
Students at an exam centre | Image for representational purpose only | (Pic: Express)
Students at an exam centre | Image for representational purpose only | (Pic: Express)

Dr Rohan Krishnan, President of the Federation of All India Medical Association  (FAIMA) points out that about 300 postgraduate seats in government medical colleges across India are still vacant. As such, he has requested an urgent round of  National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) PG Counselling.

"These are the clinical seats. The government spends about Rs 50-60 lakh per seat for its maintenance, which includes the salaries paid, and the cost of manpower and equipment," he explained. "Thus, there is an urgent need to fill these seats as vacancy leads to a waste of money and resources," Dr Krishnan added.

He further explained that the Stray-Vacancy Round of NEET Counselling is meant for filling up seats. However, this year, due to a lack of coordination between the states (which manage the state quota seats) and the central regulating body (which manages the All India Quota or AIQ seats in the colleges), the seats have gone vacant.

"The students took admission in colleges they were offered first, which created these vacancies," he said. Dr Krishnan also pointed out that every year the leftover AIQ seats are surrendered to the states for filling them up with additional counselling rounds. However, that was not done this year, which is another reason for vacancies having cropped up.

The FAIMA president also countered the claims that vacancies could be reduced in medical colleges if the eligibility criteria are reduced. "There is no need to do so. An additional round of counselling will be sufficient to fill up the seats," he stated.

Taking his request for an urgent NEET PG Counselling, Dr Krishnan discussed it on Friday, December 16, with the officials of the health ministry. "They have positively considered the issue," he said, adding that ensuing filled seats was the step towards ensuring a boost for the healthcare infrastructure. "It is more important for seats to be filled up rather than having more medical colleges. Increasing the number of colleges is meaningless if seats remain vacant," he stated.

Meanwhile, Dr Vivek Paney, a health activist, said that the problem of vacancy is found every year for dental seats as well. And the issue is more prominent in private colleges, because of the high fees they demand. "As of now, the fees of private colleges are regulated by individual states. Due to this, the fees vary drastically. For example, a PG medical seat in Uttar Pradesh is Rs 12 lakh, while in Maharashtra it is Rs 25 lakh," he explained.

"In my view, first, the fees should be reduced. And next, a central AFRC (Admission and Fee Regulation Committee) should be constituted and uniform regulation is applied pan-India. Then the problem of vacancies can be combated," Dr Pandey added.

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