In a significant development, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has decided to provide 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Categories (OBCs) and 10 per cent reservation for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in the All India Quota (AIQ) scheme for medical education.
The quota has been approved for undergraduate and postgraduate medical dental courses (MBBS/MD/MS/Diploma/BDS/MDS) from the current academic year 2021-22 onwards.
The development comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a meeting held on 26 July, had directed the concerned union ministries to facilitate an effective solution to this long pending issue, a statement by the Health Ministry said on Thursday (29 July).
This decision would benefit every year nearly 1,500 OBC students in MBBS and 2500 OBC students in postgraduation and also around 550 EWS students in MBBS and around 1000 EWS students in postgraduation, the ministry said.
The All India Quota (AIQ) scheme was introduced in 1986 under the directions of the Supreme Court to provide for domicile-free merit based opportunities to students from any state aspiring to study in a good medical college located in another state.
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. In 2007, the Supreme Court introduced reservation of 15 per cent for SCs and 7.5 per cent for STs in the said scheme.
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 the Central Educational Institutions such as Safdarjung Hospital, Lady Harding Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University and Banaras Hindu University etc, the ministry said.
However, this was not extended to the AIQ seats of state medical and dental colleges, it added.
According to the ministry, the Modi government is committed to providing due reservation both to the backward category as well as the EWS category.
"The Union Government has now taken a historic decision to provide for 27 per cent reservation for OBCs and 10 per cent reservation for EWS in the AIQ Scheme," the ministry said.
"The OBC students from across the country shall now be able to take benefit of this reservation in AIQ Scheme to compete for seats in any state," it added.
Being a central scheme, the central List of OBCs will be used for this reservation. Around 1,500 OBC students in MBBS and 2,500 in postgraduation will be benefitted through this reservation.
In order to provide benefit to students belonging to EWS category in admission to higher educational Institutions, a Constitutional amendment was made in 2019 which enabled the provision of 10 per cent reservation for EWS category, it said.
"Accordingly, seats in medical/dental colleges were increased over two years in 2019-20 and 2020-21 to accommodate this additional 10 per cent EWS reservation so that the total number of seats available for unreserved category do not reduce. In the AIQ seats, however, this benefit had not been extended so far," the ministry added.
Therefore, alongwith the 27 per cent reservation for OBCs, 10 per cent reservation for EWS is also being extended in AIQ seats for all the undergraduate/postgraduate medical/dental courses from the current academic year 2021-22, it said.
This will benefit every year around more than 550 EWS students for MBBS and around 1000 EWS students for PG medical courses.
As per the ministry, this decision is also in sync with the significant reforms carried out in the field of medical education since 2014.
"During the last six years, MBBS Seats in the country have increased by 56 per cent from 54,348 seats in 2014 to 84,649 seats in 2020 and the number of PG seats have increased by 80 per cent from 30,191 seats 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," it added.
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