Maharashtra’s medical education ministry has notified a 20% quota in postgraduate (PG) medical admissions for in-service medical officers.
The government order issued on Monday evening comes nearly six months after the previous Uddhav Thackeray-led government announced 25% reservation in PG medical admissions for MBBS graduates who serve in district hospitals for a minimum of three years before applying.
“From the academic year 2022-23, government approval is being given to reserve 20% seats for in-service candidates for admissions to PG medical and diploma courses in government and civic-run medical colleges in the state,” the government resolution said. It said apart from this reservation, in-service candidates will not get extra marks for their work, and their admissions will depend on NEET-PG marks only.
In-service medical officers were given 50% reservation of seats in post MBBS diploma courses till 2017. In addition, the medical officers also got the benefit of additional marks for work done in remote or difficult areas. The reservation was discontinued after 2017 due to reduced demand for diploma courses.
In January, the Bombay high court heard a plea by a medical officer who argued for restoring the in-service quota for the 2021-22 academic year. In his plea, Dr Suryakant Lodhe highlighted the need for providing medical expertise in rural and tribal areas to address malnutrition and child mortality rates there. The Bombay high court gave the government time until March to come up with a reservation policy.
In March, a meeting was held between state government officials from medical education as well as health departments along with the then medical education minister Amit Deshmukh and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar. In April, the government announced that in-service medical officers will now have 25% reservation in state quota seats in postgraduate medical admissions.
The move, however, has once again angered a section of students who complain that this quota will deplete the pool of seats for general category students.
“The admissions brochure for this year is already released and there’s no mention of the new quota. The change will affect the admission preference of students, even top scorers of NEET-PG because the pool of seats will reduce substantially, which will eventually leave them with very little option but to opt for seats in private medical colleges,” said Muzaffar Khan, a medical admission activist.