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Vikash Sharma

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has decided to provide 27 per cent reservation for students belonging to OBC and 10 per cent reservation for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) categories in the All-India Quota scheme for UG and PG medical/dental courses (MBBS/ MD/ MS/ Diploma/ BDS/MDS) from the current academic year 2021-22 onwards.

Earlier on July 26, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had directed the concerned Union Ministries to find out an effective solution to this long pending issue.

This decision would benefit nearly 1500 OBC students in MBBS, 2500 OBC students in post-graduation, around 550 EWS students in MBBS and around 1000 EWS students in post-graduation courses annually. It is pertinent to mention here that the All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme was introduced in 1986 following directions of the Supreme Court to provide for domicile-free merit based opportunities to students from any state to aspire to study in a good medical college located in another state.

The All India Quota consists of 15 per cent of total available UG seats and 50 per cent of total available PG seats in government medical colleges. Initially, there was no reservation in AIQ scheme up to 2007.

The Supreme Court introduced reservation of 15 per cent for SC and 7.5 per cent for ST students in the AIQ Scheme in 2017.

When the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act became effective in 2007 providing for uniform 27 per cent reservation to OBCs, the same was implemented in all Central Educational Institutions viz. Safdarjung Hospital, Lady Harding Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University and Banaras Hindu University etc.

However, this was not extended to the AIQ seats of state medical and dental colleges, a PIB release said.

The Government is committed to provide due reservation both to the backward category as well as the EWS category. OBC students from across the country will be able to take benefit of this reservation in AIQ scheme to compete for seats in any state. Being a Central scheme, the Central list of OBCs shall be used for this reservation. Around 1500 OBC students in MBBS and 2500 in post-graduation courses will be benefitted through this reservation.

In order to provide benefits to students belonging to EWS category in admission to higher educational Institutions, a Constitutional amendment was earlier made in 2019 which enabled the provision of 10 per cent reservation for EWS category.

Accordingly, seats in medical / dental colleges were increased over two years in 2019-20 and 2020-21 to accommodate the additional 10 per cent EWS reservation so that the total number of seats available for unreserved category did not reduce.

In the AIQ seats, however, the benefit had not been extended so far. In the last six years, MBBS seats in the country have increased by 56 per cent from 54,348 in 2014 to 84,649 in 2020.

The number of PG seats have increased by 80 per cent from 30,191seats in 2014 to 54,275 seats in 2020. During the same period, 179 new medical colleges have been established and now the country has 558 (Govt: 289, Pvt: 269) medical colleges, the release added.

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