In a significant move, Union Health Ministry had approved the Medical Council of India's (MCI) recommendation for an amendment to the Indian Medical Council (IMC) Act that empowered it to hold a nationwide common medical entrance test for MBBS, BDS and post-graduate medical courses in both government and private institutions.
Latest news: Supreme court has given permission for NEET to be conducted this year.
A draft note in this regard was circulated among the ministries concerned before it was presented to the Cabinet. MCI had given the consent to a proposal on common medical entrance test in October 2012 as published on platform in the news titled "MCI Plans Single Common Medical Entrance Test" and the matter was sent to Health Ministry for approval. The proposed amendment paved the way for a one-country, one-medical entrance plan, for both undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses in all colleges, including private colleges and deemed universities. MCI is a statutory body which is responsible for governing the medical curriculum and endorsing medical qualification in the country.
The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) was launched to reduce the burden on medical/dental aspirants who earlier had to face multiple entrance tests to secure admission. Aspirants could appear for a single exam and apply for admission through NEET. NEET scores were used for admission to each and every medical and dental college in the country, where merit lists were drawn up for all-India and state-wise. Any student not obtaining minimum marks required in NEET or not having attempted NEET would not be able to apply for medical or dental admission for that specific academic year. NEET also specified that admission is to be conducted on basis of NEET scores alone.
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The first NEET-PG was conducted by the National Board Of Examinations from 23 November – 6 December 2012, which was referred to as the testing window (with 24th, 25th, 28 November and 2 December as non-testing days). The test was a computer-based test unlike the traditional paper and pen based test AIIMS had been conducting over years for admission to 50% all India quota Post graduate courses in the country. The new test pattern and schedule received a lot of negative criticism in that it was conducted five weeks earlier than its predecessor the annual All India Post Graduate Entrance Examination, which is scheduled around January. The candidates complained about difficulty in the registration process for the test with long queues at banks where activation coupons were being sold. More than 38000 registrations were recorded on the NEET PG servers within first few hours of launch. The exam was conducted flawlessly and over 95,000 candidates registered for the test.
Supreme Court’s verdict
However the examination was conducted smoothly but the results were put on hold pending a Supreme Court case concerning the same. However the result was declared later in the month of May, 2013. On 13 May 2013, the Supreme Court issued an interim order and allowed NEET to declare the results pending final verdict on the on-going litigation. Accordingly the results were declared and nearly 49,000 out of 90,000 candidates were declared as qualified on the basis of ‘percentile’ as strictly prescribed by the NEET and approved by the government.
Later,115 petitions challenged the MCI notification on NEET by several private colleges, minority institute and some state governments, The Supreme Court of India had ruled out MCI's notification for holding common entrance test for MBBS, BDS and post-graduate medical courses as "invalid" in a verdict in June 2013. It said "The role assigned to the MCI under Sections 10A and 19A (1) of the 1956 Act vindicates such a conclusion. As an offshoot, we have no hesitation in holding that the Medical Council of India is not empowered to actually conduct the NEET."
Under the current system, every state government conduct their own entrance test. Similarly, private medical colleges, deemed universities and minority institutes who offer medical education, also conduct their own CET. Candidates most often take many of these tests as they don't want to risk their chances.
With the approval of health minister the proposal might finally see the daylight and the common entrance test may be implemented from 2016 if the proposed move gets the necessary nod of the Cabinet.
On the contrary, one of the state governments has already sent a written note to prime minister opposing such move.
The State Governments of Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Goa & Sikkim shall utilise the results of AIPGMEE 2016 for admission to MD/MS/ PG Diploma courses at colleges under their control. These states shall not be conducting any state entrance examination of their own. Approval from other states is awaited.
Admission to MD/MS/ PG Diploma courses at institutes under Armed Forces Medical Services, University of Delhi and RIMS Imphal shall also be made on the basis of results of AIPGMEE 2016.
The National Board of Examinations has been entrusted the responsibility of conducting this competitive entrance examination by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
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