NEET PG 2023 postponement: FAIMA to escalate agitation, call for protest at Jantar Mantar on February 7

FAIMA has called for a protest at Jantar Mantar on February 7, demanding the resignation of the Union Health Minister after he failed to meet the students demanding NEET PG postponement
FAIMA calls for protest at Jantar Mantar for NEET PG 2023 postponement | (Pic: EdexLive)
FAIMA calls for protest at Jantar Mantar for NEET PG 2023 postponement | (Pic: EdexLive)

After several failed attempts to meet the Union Health Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, regarding the postponement of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) PG (postgraduate), failed repeatedly, the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) has escalated their protests. The medical association has called for a nationwide protest that will include a Twitter storm, a protest at Jantar Mantar on February 7 and OPD service suspension. Stating the venue as Jantar Mantar and the number of participants as 100, FAIMA tweeted, "We have got Permission for Peaceful Protest on 7th February(Tuesday)...Our Protest Would be Apolitical & Peaceful against our genuine Demand!." (sic) 

In the Twitter storm, which was organised yesterday, February 3, at 4 pm, the doctors raged on Twitter with the hashtag #ResignMansukhMandaviya, #WeWantDrHarshwardhanBack and #PostponeNEETPG2023. The Jantar Mantar protest will follow next, after which the doctors claim they will suspend OPD services which might lead to a complete shutdown if their demands remain unaddressed. "After Discussion between core group of #FAIMA We have decided to go systematically! First- Twitter Storm Second - Protest at Jantar Mantar Third- Shutting Down OPD Services Fourth- Total Shutdown," (sic) Tweeted FAIMA on February 2.

The demand for the health minister's resignation emerged after they did not receive any response from Mandaviya despite attempting to reach out to him with the concerns. "We have tried to meet the Union Health Minister several times but that never happened. He had time to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members, but he couldn't hear us out or respond to us even once," says Dr Manish Jangra, the founder and chief advisor of FAIMA. Thus, the protesting doctors calling the resignation of Mansukh Mandaviya and the reinstatement of former Union Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan. "At least Dr Har Vardhan would hear us out. Now, we feel completely helpless," adds Dr Jangra.

The next NEET PG 2023 exam, which is scheduled for March 5, has created quite a stir among its applicants. When the National Board Of Examinations In Medical Sciences (NBEMS) announced the date of the examination they also declared that the results will out by March 31 and that the internship cut-off date would be March 30, under the eligibility requirements. However, the cut-off was later extended to June 30 in response to protests from the medical community, which claimed that the original cut-off date disqualified the majority of the 2017 batch interns from taking the exam.

After the announcement of the extension of the internship cut-off date, requests for exam postponement emerged. NEET PG aspirants claim they will have to sit idle for four months or more before the counselling process can begin. They also say they won't be able to work during these months since hospitals won't hire for such a short time. "The demand for a postponement has a genuine cause. Why waste so many months doing nothing when that could easily be utilised for better NEET PG preparation," says Dr Rohan Krishnan, the National Chairman of FAIMA. The candidates are also concerned that next year's NEET exam will be replaced by the National Exit Test (NExT), which will have a completely different format and might be more challenging.

A few concerns emerged that the counselling might start early despite the gap between the internship cut-off and exam date, indicating the concern about a prolonged wait might not be valid. However, Dr Krishnan assures that it is impossible for the counselling to start before July. He says, " Candidates cannot report to a college for admission while their internships are still on and since the entire process is offline, I don't see how it could start early. Further, I discussed this with the Chairman of the Medical Committee, and he confirmed that the counselling will not start before July.

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