WITH the entrance exam for post-graduation courses roughly a month away, medical graduates of 2017 are still unsure whether they are eligible to apply this year. The confusion comes after the department of medical education and drugs passed a government resolution (GR) on October 12, making it compulsory for post-graduate applicants to complete their one-year bond service.
While the department has hinted at exempting fresh graduates from the new rule and implement it from 2019, an official decision is still pending, leaving applicants confused.
“First, the government announced a new rule only months before the entrance exam. And now there is dilly-dallying over a decision. Medical graduates have been preparing for months now and they remain unclear over their eligibility,” said Shushrut Raut, an MBBS from Government Medical College, Yavatmal.
The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for PG admissions is scheduled on January 7. It is mandatory for students of government medical colleges — both undergraduate and postgraduate — to serve a one-year bond service in a hospital run by the public health department of the state.
Students are known to skip this posting or postpone it till after post-graduation and the new rule was aimed at making sure that medical students don’t skip their postings. However, according to the GR, doctors who graduated with an MBBS degree from a government medical college in 2017 were ineligible for post-graduation as they had not completed their posting.
The GR received widespread opposition from fresh graduates, who had started an online signature campaign against the new rule. While parents said that the rule gave graduates of private medical colleges an undue advantage, graduates complained that the timing of the announcement had caught them off guard.
Muzaffar Khan, whose son graduated this year, said: “Through our discussions with the health education minister and the department, we have been assured that there will be a two-year exemption. However, officially there has been no decision.”
Since the bond service does not apply to graduates of private medical colleges, they will be able to apply for PG, said Khan.
The Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), too, had written to the department to amend the GR and implement the new rule from the academic year 2019-20.
“It is true that the GR, as it stands today, favours graduates from private institutes. We have already apprised the department of the matter. A decision is likely soon,” said Pravin Shinghare, Director, DMER. Medical Education Secretary Sanjay Deshmukh said the rules had been decided in principle and the timeline is to be finalised.