Following NMC Draft Proposal, Govt Considering Common Counselling for admission to MBBS, PG medical courses: Report

New Delhi: Following the NMC Draft Graduate Medical Education Regulations 2023, now the Union Government is also considering the possibility for a common counselling for all MBBS and PG Medical seats in the country.

Confirming this move by the National Medical Commission (NMC), an official in the Union Health Minister recently informed TOI that the proposal is being discussed with the States.  

While currently the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) under the Union Health Ministry conducts counselling for only 15% all-India quota MBBS and 50% PG medical seats, the scenario can change from this year itself.

However, as per the proposal the Centre will take over only as the allotment authority and the policies and reservation quotas of the respective states will remain unchanged.

The Health Ministry official has mentioned that the proposed common counselling could be implemented from this year itself if the States agree to come on board. In that case, the common counselling will be conducted by the MCC.

Pointing out that the idea of common counselling has been proposed by the National Medical Commission (NMC) already, the official further clarified that it could only be implemented if all the states agree and come on board willingly.

The proposal for Common Counselling was mentioned in the draft Graduate Medical Education Regulations of Undergraduate Medical Education Board, 2023 as well.

Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that introducing the draft on the public domain on February 27, 2023, NMC had invited comments from the public and the stakeholders asking them to share the comments within 30 days.

Also Read: NMC Releases Draft Graduate Medical Education Regulations 2023, Invites Comments

Among several issues, these draft regulations also discussed about the admission, counselling and migration process involving the UG medical admission including the conduct of NEET UG, the eligibility criteria, break of tie-in marks of NEET UG, common counselling, and student migration.

Specifying that there shall be a common counselling for admission to graduate medical courses, the draft mentioned, “Without prejudice to anything stated in the present Regulations or other NMC Regulations, there shall be common counselling for admission to graduate courses in medicine for all medical institutions in lndia based on the merit list of the NEET-UG.”

“Counselling shall be based on the seat matrix provided by National Medical Commission; Provided the common counselling may have multiple rounds as may be necessary,” it further added.

As per the draft, UGMEB shall publish the guidelines for common counselling, and the designated authority under section 17 below shall conduct the common counselling in conformity with such published guidelines.

In case of the all India quota seats of the contributing states, the designated authority appointed by the Government shall conduct the common counselling, NMC clarified.

Since Education is in the concurrent list, both Centre and States are allowed to formulate laws in this regard. However, previously the single entrance test for medical courses i.e. NEET came on judicial intervention and still several states are resisting it.

As per the latest media report by the Times of India, while the Union Government proposal for common counselling could only be implemented with the nod from the State Governments, the proposal only aims to shift the allotment authority and not change the policies of the respective states along with the reservation quotas.

The daily adds the concept of single exam and single counselling for superspeciality courses is already under process. In order to ensure that the States’ policies and reservation quotas remain the same, States have been directed to send a nodal officer for explaining the respective reservation systems practised by them and also to monitor its implementation. 

Explaining the matter, the Health Ministry official told the daily, “For the proposed single counselling, all states have to come together and ensure that rules of state like reservation and domicile status are included in the counselling. The state quota rules will continue.”

“We want each state to be represented at the committee so that the respective state’s quotas are explained and dealt with it. We hope to implement it in a staggered way,” added the official.

Referring to the advantages of common counselling, the official explained, “Now, a student chooses a seat from all-India quota, state quota and, sometimes, in a private college. He releases two seats at the final stage of counselling. The two seats thus get blocked until the last stage and might go to a lower merit candidate.”

Adding that it also helps in synchronised counselling, the official further mentioned, “Now, all states are conducting counselling simultaneously. Last year, it got delayed by 15 days as some states did not follow the schedule. This inconvenience will also be sorted out with a single counselling.”

While commenting on the matter, a Karnataka official aware of the matter told TOI, “The advantages are that students would get to know about the courses in deemed universities too. But there should be a system to verify the credibility of the reservation a student claims through a document-verification process held at the state level.”

Also Read: New NMC Regulations spell out Harsher Penalties for Backdoor MBBS admissions in medical colleges

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