New Delhi: MBBS graduates have approached the Supreme Court with the demand to delay the NEET-PG 2022 examination by six to ten weeks. This followed as the counselling process for the previous batch has either just been conducted or is still in process. Meanwhile, the National Board of Examination (NBE), which conducts the test announced that the examination will take place on May 21 and has started issuing admit cards.
However, there are multiple reasons for the ongoing protest for delaying the examination. We have curated some of them. Let’s take a look:
Why are students demanding delay in examination?
The MBBS students have completed their one-year internship and now have to sit for NEET-PG to qualify for post-graduation seats. The number of available seats across India for post-graduation is 42,000. However, students appearing for the examination are nearly three to fourfolds from their seats. Thus, students end up taking multiple shots at the test.
The NEET-PG 21 was massively delayed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and litigations, which resulted in the counselling process, which began only in January this year. What seemed to have finished in a couple of months is still getting conducted – mainly due to litigations and procedural delays including some seats being allocated offline but reflected as vacant for the next round of online counselling, and consequently being allocated to two persons.
The counselling process is finally wrapping up. However, with ten days remaining for the next year’s examination to begin, students stated that they are not getting study breaks between the counselling process for 2021 and the examination for 2022.
“In fact, the date for the 2022 examination is clashing with the dates for counselling for College of Physicians and Surgeons of Mumbai. It might also clash for some students from Rajasthan. Plus, since the process has been delayed for long and the resident doctors are already overworked, another two weeks should not make a difference,” claimed Dr Rohan Kishnan, president of the Federation of All India Medical Associations (FAIMA), which was one of the associations that went on a strike last year to expedite NEET PG counselling.
Why the delay matters?
The post-graduation students can also work with the hospitals associated with the medical colleges as junior resident doctors as part of their training, apart from attending classes.
Besides, the delays in conducting the exams and counselling last year resulted in a gap in the academic year. The third-year students will be taking up jobs as senior residents after their final exams. The second-year students will be moving to the third year. Meanwhile, those who were supposed to be in the second year are just joining the first year now.
With the resident doctors being the major provider of services in the medical college hospitals will lack one-third of manpower.
This shortage was the main reason behind over-worked resident doctors across India going on a strike in December last year to expedite the counselling process.
Do some doctors oppose the move?
A large section of the resident doctors who participated in the strike last year feels that any delay will keep pushing the academic calendar further. “It is time to reconcile the academic calendar now that Covid-19 has gone down. Plus, if the exam is delayed right now, what is the guarantee there won’t be a surge in Covid cases after ten weeks? Last year too, the exam was first pushed when Covid cases weren’t too high, and then it kept getting delayed because of Covid and court cases,” said one resident doctor, on condition of anonymity.
While another stated, “The delay in counselling process has largely been because of litigations by students. It was clearly stated in the guidelines before the counselling process that those who take up a seat in the second round will not be eligible for the mop-up round, but some students still did that and others filed a case. This led to long delays. Now, the students want to push it further? For what reason? If they applied in NEET 2021, they must have been studying the entire last year anyway.”
The NEET-PG examination for this year was already postponed from March to May, as the counselling process was not completed.