Published: 18th October 2022
NEET PG cut-offs reduced: Right on time or too little too late? Doctors, experts share insights
A decision to reduce the cut-off for admission to PG courses for 2022 23 by 25 percentile across all categories was taken by the Centre in light of seats left vacant during the NEET PG counselling
Based on recommendations from the National Medical Commission (NMC), the Medical Education division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare today, October 18, reduced the cut-off percentiles for qualifying the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET-PG) 2022. The move comes on what is the last date to sign up for Round 2 of the NEET PG Counselling this year.
As it stands now, the revised qualifying percentile/cutoff for general category candidates is 25 percentile, for people with disabilities in the general category (PWD-general) is 20 percentile and for both the SC/ST/OBC and people with disabilities in the SC/ST/OBC category it is 15 percentile. As per a report by PTI, the NMC made the recommendation to reduce the percentiles after a meeting on October 14.
Dr Aviral Mathur, President of the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) welcomed the move and congratulated the NMC for taking a step in favour of the students. "It is a big push towards improving the eligibility of the candidates. Moreover, this clears backlogs as well, because otherwise some of these students would have had to write the exam next year, increasing competition there as well," he told EdexLive. Reflecting on the factors that left seats vacant this year, Dr Mathur said, "While the paper was hard, I believe students were caught up in the agitation to get the exam postponed and therefore did not prepare well for it. Also, more seats were introduced this year, so that added to the number of vacant seats as well," he added.
Apart from being favourable, it is only fair, said Dr Rafia Khan, spokesperson of the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA). "Aspirants prepare for years just for those three hours of the exam to decide their fate for the next three years. Even the best of students might face circumstantial issues that can lead them to miss out on the seats. This is a move that will not only help fill the vacant seats, but also give these candidates another opportunity," Dr Khan pointed out.
"The timing has to be appreciated..."
An official source who spoke with PTI called it a "waste of resources" for PG medical seats to go vacant in a country like India where they are valued so highly. And therefore a decision to reduce the cut-off for admission to postgraduate courses for 2022 23 by 25 percentile across all categories has been taken, he said. Dr Rohan Krishnan, President of FAIMA, told EdexLive that the NMC had been more proactive this year in revising the cut-offs. "Usually, it is a long battle between various resident doctors associations and the authorities to revise the percentiles. The timing has to be appreciated this year because it comes just before the registrations for the second round close. This opens these seats up to a large number of candidates," he said.
Dr Khan also noted that the move will help the medical infrastructure in the country. "We need specialist doctors. This will help the medical community at large," she said. She also highlighted the fact that those students who qualified for the counselling as per the original percentile and did not get seats in the first or second round are unlikely to select seats in the mop-up stages. Those seats are then opened to these candidates who qualify now due to the revised percentile, she added. These, she said, will most likely be taken by those students who are not particular about their speciality.
The bigger picture
However, NEET PG expert, career consultant and analyst, Jayaprakash Gandhi, has a different take on the issue. "Almost 1600 seats are vacant in both clinical and non-clinical specialities. Most of the medical students who write NEET PG are very keen on pursuing their master's in specific streams and in specific colleges. Maybe 10 years ago, students would have settled for any stream, but now, due to increased competition, they are extremely specific. This is the reason why seats were left vacant and I doubt that revising percentiles will address that," he countered.
According to Gandhi, students are likely to wait and try again next year. "The students don't just go by brand value when it comes to PG seats. They research the institute and the vertical they are interested in thoroughly and then decide. A college might be offering all streams. However, if it doesn't get the right amount of patient intake for a certain stream for these candidates to study and conduct their research, they are likely to skip that college. They do not compromise," he said. It is not the addition of seats or the revision of cut-offs at the last minute that will help NEET PG aspirants, but the overall development of the medical education infrastructure in the country that will create change, he stated.