Published: 17th January 2023
NEET PG 2023: Students demand postponement of exam after extension of internship deadline. Here's why
Around 8,000 interns from the 2017 batch remain disqualified from NEET PG 2023 despite the extension, including students from MP, Telangana, Bihar and more
The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test Postgraduate (NEET PG) 2023 aspirants are demanding a postponement of the exam, scheduled to be held on March 5. "We demand that the dates get deferred by at least six to eight weeks now that the internship cut-off date has been extended until June 30," says Dr Suman Saha from Kolkata, adding, "There is no logic in conducting the exam in March, given the counselling process requires an internship completion certificate." The internship cut-off date was originally March 30, but it 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.
The National Chairman of the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA), Dr Rohan Krishnan, also tweeted in support of these candidates today. He wrote, "I have passed the concerns to officials at Health Ministry. They have not made any comment However, I once again Request @MoHFW_INDIA & @NMC_
Why is this an issue?
After the announcement of the extension of the internship cut-off date, NEET PG aspirants claim that 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. "Nearly four months separate the exam date from the internship deadline. Why waste these months sitting about when they could be studying for the exam instead? Counselling won't begin until after the internship," says Gaurav Tyagi, NEET counsellor.
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. "This is the last NEET exam and we want to give it our best. Deferring the examination by six to eight weeks will aid most students. Additionally, if the internship is extended through July 31st, about 90% of the 2017 batch will benefit," says an aspirant who spoke to EdexLive on the condition of anonymity.
Demand for further extension of internship date
Owing to the pandemic, the academic calendar was disrupted and to regularise it, the boards are trying to bring back the admission dates to their original schedules. The initial internship date excluded more than 50 per cent of the interns from the 2017 batch, including those from colleges in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and more. Upon its revision, there remain a couple of states whose interns stand excluded. Students from Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Telangana and more will remain disqualified and have to appear for the 2024 PG examination.
Dr Bheekam Kurmi, from Gandhi Medical College, Madhya Pradesh, will complete his internship on July 25. He says, "Even though our examinations concluded on May 31, the results weren't released for another 2.5 months. Additionally, the pandemic was a significant contributor to the delay." Furthermore, according to Dr Kurmi, if the internship is extended until July 31, all states excluding Chhattisgarh, will be eligible to appear for the NEET PG 2023 exam. "As far as I know, the majority of students will be relieved, apart from those in Chattisgarh. This eligibility factor is stressful, and the odds of selection in NExT are much lower," he concludes.
Can the counselling start early?
The candidates stress that the counselling will not begin before the internships are completed since the internship completion certificate is essential for NEET PG. "They can't begin the counselling early because the internship certificate is the proof that you are a doctor," says Dr Shashank H. When EdexLive reviewed the NEET PG schedules of 2019 and 2018, we discovered that the exam dates were in January and the counselling started two or three days before the internship deadline, at the end of March.
"Our internships used to end in January; the extra two months were an extension in case we missed a few days and couldn't finish the required 365 days of our internship. So, hardly any people utilised that extension. This year, things are different, and people will finish their internships up until the deadline," adds Dr Shashank.
The doctors demanding the postponement also made a list of reasons which was widely shared on social media platforms. Addressing various issues, including the possibility of an early start of counselling, they write, "The counselling process requires internship completion certificate and cannot start smoothly till then; even if started earlier, it would require a tedious tracking of internship completion of a large number of students which would be chaotic. The Academic year of PG would not start till counselling starts; merely streamlining the exam doesn't solve the problem of a disrupted academic schedule due to a pandemic. And nor would patient care be affected till the work force of residents comes through in counselling."
What are the demands?
Dr Arghya Pratin Das from Tripura shared a list of their 'demands' and 'reasons' with EdexLive, which includes the following apart from the one mentioned earlier:
- 8,000 interns from MP, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Telangana are still ineligible. To accommodate them, these students demand that their eligibility be extended through July 31. The interns from these states deserve their final opportunity to attempt NEET PG given the probability of the NExT exam next year.
- The majority of candidates would benefit from a midway solution that would delay the exam for six to eight weeks to reduce the wait-out period following the exam, which would otherwise be four months.