Published: 06th January 2022
Citing the fact that revision of EWS, OBC quota criteria will delay NEET counselling further, FORDA moves SC
The applicant stated that because the counselling process hasn't begun yet, no induction of junior residents has taken place which is leading to hospital and medical colleges running on fewer staff
An intervention plea has been filed by the Federation of Indian Doctors (FORDA) in the Supreme Court, which is hearing petitions challenging the validity of the EWS quota in postgraduate medical courses.
The federation has been protesting the NEET-PG counselling delay relentlessly and has went on to state that the revision of the reservation criteria for EWS and OBC, which is coming at the very end of the process, will only lead to further delays to the counselling and final selection. The top court will be taking up the matter later in the day.
In the plea, it was added that, with regards to commencing the counselling for NEET PG exams, delayed for over a year now, and inducting junior resident doctors (first-year PG doctors) to ensure that India's healthcare infrastructure remains stable, the applicant is seeking indulgence from the top court.
"That it would be necessary to bring to the notice of this Hon'ble Court that the Postgraduate Doctors (hereinafter referred to as the ace Junior Residents") hold an indispensable position in the healthcare system of the nation and their timely induction is significant to ensure the seamless functioning thereof", stated the plea, as per a report in IANS. It went on to add, "That every year an estimated 45,000 candidates are inducted as postgraduate doctors through the NEET PG examination. However, in the year 2021, the said process of induction of postgraduate doctors into the medical workforce was hindered due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent delay in the holding of the NEET PG examination".
The applicant stated that because the counselling process hasn't begun yet, no induction of junior residents has taken place which is leading to hospital and medical colleges of the country running on fewer staff members, especially in this vital moment when cases of COVID-19 are rising throughout the country.
"The Applicant Association humbly submits revision of the reservation scheme at the present stage, that is, towards the end of the entire process of the NEET PG examination may further delay the NEET PG counselling and have adverse impact over the students, health care institution, as well as the nation at large", added the plea.
The report of a three-member panel constituted to revisit the EWS criteria has been accepted by the centre. The panel, in its report, said: "Firstly, the EWS's criteria relates to the financial year prior to the year of application whereas the income criterion for the creamy layer in OBC category is applicable to gross annual income for three consecutive years."
The panel added, "Secondly, in case of deciding the OBC creamy layer, income from salaries, agriculture and traditional artisanal professions are excluded from the consideration whereas the Rs 8 lakh criteria for EWS includes that from all sources, including farming. So, despite being the same cut-off number, their composition is different and hence, the two cannot be equated".
The Supreme Court is hearing writ petitions that are challenging the 27 per cent reservation for OBC and 10 per cent reservation for EWS in all-India Quota seats for postgraduate medical courses. From the candidates who are selected via NEET, 15 per cent seats in MBBS and 50 per cent seats in MS and MD courses are filled through All India Quota.