Published: 17th September 2022
Gujarat: Opening up of state quota and OPD timings trouble NEET PG aspirants
Students state that since they stand to risk losing their postgraduate seats, they wish to tackle the NEET-PG Counselling issue first, and the other later
The NEET-PG aspirants from Gujarat are worried. The directions issued by the state government (MoHFW Gujarat) regarding NEET-PG 2022 Counselling and OPD (Out Patient Department) timings in medical colleges are the reason. Students state that since they stand to risk losing their postgraduate seats, they wish to tackle the NEET-PG Counselling issue first.
“We are going to file a PIL in the Gujarat High Court regarding this,” said Dr Meet Ghonia, a health and social activist from the state, who is also a NEET-PG aspirant. What led to this decision? Dr Meet explains that 50 per cent of the state quota seats, which are solely meant for residents of Gujarat who completed their Undergraduate medical courses from the state, are now, by the government’s order, made open to others as well.
Issue number one: State quota
“All those who have completed Classes XI and XII from Gujarat and possess a domicile certificate are now eligible to compete for the 50 per cent of seats which come under the state quota,” said Dr Jia Patel, an MBBS student from GCS Medical College, Ahmedabad. She explains that means that MBBS graduates from other states and FMGs (Foreign Medical Graduates), who have the required certificates, can now participate in the state Counselling rounds.
And the students state that this is disadvantageous to them. “The state quota is meant for students from the state. The number of medical colleges in Gujarat is limited. And now if others compete for these seats, our chances will be reduced,” said Dr Meet Meghpara, an MBBS student from GMERS Medical College, Valsad.
The students further said that they took admission to Gujarat medical colleges because they wanted to continue their PG in the state. “The number of takers is already double the number of seats available. Now there are even more competitors,” Dr Jia said.
The students additionally say that the FMGs are allowed to participate in the counselling rounds of any state, except Tamil Nadu (which allows only Tamil students for this). Only the AIQ (All India Quota) seats are available to them. “Allowing FMGs to compete for our seats is unfair to us,” states Dr Meet Meghpara.
From this year, the government has also introduced a 10 per cent quota for in-service doctors, as per the students. “As of now, there is 94 per cent reservation in Gujarat medical colleges,” Dr Meet Meghpara said.
Another fact that irks the student is the timing of the government’s notice. “The registration for our counselling started on September 15. And on the same day the government issued its notice,” Dr Meet Meghpara said. “Had the government issued any prior notice, and intimated us that it was planning such a move, we could have contemplated some course of action. On the brink of the start of counselling, it is difficult for anything to be done," Dr Jia said.
Apart from approaching the court, the students are also planning to meet the authorities in charge of counselling and admission to medical colleges, and submit representations to the government authorities regarding this issue. They hope that a solution is chalked out.
Issue number two: OPD timing
The students have complained that due to the government’s decision to lengthen the OPD timings, their workload is heavily increased. “The timing was 9 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 6 pm, which amounts to six hours. Now the evening timing has been increased by two hours, till 8 pm,” Dr Meet Ghonia said.
Moreover, the doctors say, earlier, they had a half-day on Saturday while Sunday was their day off. As per the new directions, Saturday is a regular working day for them, while Sunday is a half-day. “This means we have no day off. How can one work like this?” Dr Jia questions.
The government’s direction concerns the resident doctors in all government and private (where the seats are filled through state counselling) colleges of Gujarat. The Junior Doctors’ Association from BJ Medical College (JDA BJMC), Ahmedabad, has submitted a letter to the HoDs and Dean of BJMC as well as to the Medical Superintendent of Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad in this regard.
"If Government want this rule to be implemented in Gujarat, then it should be implemented from MBBS Admission Batch 2022-23 (Who will take PG Admission in 2028-29)," is what the students suggest, as per a Joint Statement issued by the Gujarat Intern Doctors' Association and Gujarat MBBS Students' Association.