In a move that would bring much relief to government doctors, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has amended the PG Medical Education Regulations, 2000, making government doctors serving in rural areas eligible for incentive marks in NEET PG. Currently, doctors serving only in “remote and hilly areas” are eligible for incentive marks which will be added to their NEET score when preparing the rank list for single-window admission counseling. The expansion of the ambit of government doctors eligible for incentive marks would help the state governments including the Tamil Nadu government which has been fighting to ensure that maximum possible number of government doctors get the incentive marks so that more MBBS graduates would prefer to work in State-run public health institutions.

By a gazette notification, dated April 5, MCI has amended the Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000. The amendment has explicitly stated that the State government will be the competent authority to notify the list of remote, difficult or rural areas from time to time.

Moreover, the council is seriously considering restoration of 50 per cent reservation of PG medical seats to government doctors, which TN had been providing till two years ago. The council has referred the matter to the Additional Solicitor-General of India for his opinion, it is learned.
The State health department had already released the prospectus for this year’s PG admissions. The last date for sale of applications was March 25.

A recent government order has notified a detailed list of “remote, difficult and hilly areas”.  Asked if the list of areas would be modified now, a senior health department official said, “We have prepared the prospectus anticipating this amendment.”

Non-service doctors expressed disappointment over the medical council’s move amending the regulations. “We did not expect this from the MCI. Like last year, this year also 98 percent of the seats would go to service doctors. Meritorious candidates across the country will be affected. We will certainly represent our grievance to MCI,” said N Karthikeyan, secretary, Non-Governmental Service Doctors’ Association.

Meanwhile, the medical council has also set May 31 as the deadline for PG medical admissions. However, the State health department is yet to release the rank list of the candidates. When asked about this, G Selvaraj, Selection Committee Secretary, Directorate of Medical Education, said, “The rank list will be released after we get copies of the court order on a few pending cases.”

The Madras High Court is currently hearing various petitions challenging the list of areas notified by the State government as eligible for government doctors to get incentive marks. The latest amendment would also help the State government in defending its case before the high court.

MEDICAL REPORTERS
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