Published: 06th May 2022
Call for NEET-PG 2022 postponement grows louder; junior doctors say they are hopeful
“The reasons for which the Supreme Court had postponed NEET-PG for the years 2020 and 2021 still exist, so we can expect it to consider the postponement of the 2022 exam,” says Jitendra Singh, AIMSA
The demand for postponement of the NEET-PG 2022 exam has been gaining momentum, with several political voices pitching in, supporting the candidates who are set to appear for the exam. The Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Mansukh Mandaviya, has received letters from various politicians and associations regarding the matter. On May 5, a petition urging the postponement of the exam was filed in the Supreme Court by the All India Medical Students’ Association (AIMSA).
Dr Jitendra Singh, National President of AIMSA, said that the Supreme Court is yet to verify the documents and assign a number to their petition. The principal reason for the call for postponement is the clash in the dates of the NEET-PG 2021 Counselling and the proposed 2022 exam. The counselling started on May 3 and the exam will begin on May 21. AIMSA thus stated that the students will not get enough time to prepare for the exam.
AIMSA also stated that more than 4,000 interns are employed in hospitals in emergency COVID-19 duties across India. Due to this, they have not yet completed their internship period and this renders them ineligible to appear for the 2022 exam, if the exam is held on the proposed date. “The reasons for which the Supreme Court had postponed NEET-PG for the years 2020 and 2021 still exist, so we can expect it to consider the postponement of the 2022 exam as well,” said Dr Jitendra. A press conference had been organised by AIMSA on the evening of May 5 to address students’ doubts and other queries regarding the petition filed.
They are speaking up
The issue surrounding the exam has been continuing for a couple of weeks. In April, AIMSA had forwarded a letter to the Department of Health and Family Welfare, requesting for postponement of the exam. The Delhi Medical Association (DMA), TN Lok Sabha MP Karti P Chidambaram, Kerala Lok Sabha MP Hibi Eden and Karnataka Lok Sabha MP Tejasvi Surya had also supported the AIMSA letter. They had also directed letters to the Union Health Minister separately, urging him to consider the postponement of NEET-PG and making the junior doctor interns eligible to appear for it. Several junior doctors had also written to President Kovind and PM Modi stating that if the exam is held on the decided date, then doctors will have no choice but to surrender their medical degrees to the Centre.
Individuals, doctors, associations and politicians also took to Twitter to demand for postponement. Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, the former Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, tweeted, “The Union Government should consider the just reasons behind this demand & postpone the examination.” In another tweet, he had mentioned that if the exam is conducted on May 21, “most of the aspiring Medical Students will be denied a fair chance & just opportunity to get admitted into postgraduate courses in this year.”
MLC Lokesh Nara, General Secretary of Telugu Desam Party, has also supported the junior doctors’ demand. In a tweet in Telugu, he mentioned that he has written a letter to the Union Minister of Health, urging him to “take a positive decision in the face of growing demand across the country”. The letter, which was sent on May 5, was also shared along with the tweet. Another tweet, sharing a letter to Mansukh Mandaviya, from Pradyot Bikram Manikya, Chairman of the Administrative Reform Committee of TTAADC Polytechnic Institute in Tripura, has also won praise from doctors.
On the other hand, in a previous interview with Edexlive, ex-member of the Federation of Resident Doctors' Association (FORDA), Dr Manish had opined that postponing the exam would result in a shortage of manpower and the solution could be advancing the counselling dates. Commenting on the issue, Dr Peeyush Singh, the National Vice-President of AIMSA, who is a surgeon, has said, “It is a better decision to postpone the exam, rather than extend the counselling date. The interns will be eligible to appear for the exam then.” He added, “It is true that a manpower shortage will arise if the exams are extended. But we are asking for postponement by 8-10 weeks. So, it should be all right. Also, if a new batch is admitted, then only the current batch will be promoted.”
Speaking about the anticipated disturbance in the academic cycle if the exam is postponed, Dr Peeyush said, “The academic cycle has already been disturbed. The exam has already been postponed twice in the last few years. The 2016 batch has still not been able to write the PG exam. So, another shift by a couple of months will not change anything much. The students who have been preparing for the PG exam will be annoyed and disappointed if the exam is postponed, but we cannot think of only those few students; we have to think of everyone.”
As the Supreme Court is yet to register the petition filed, Dr Peeyush informed, “We have sent our reconsideration for postponement and ministry is looking into it."
(The last statement given by AIMSA was removed as per the associations' request)