The Punjab domicile certificate will no longer be mandatory for seeking admission to postgraduate medical and dental courses in private medical colleges of the state. The Punjab government's decision has led to apprehension that applicants from the state might lose out to candidates from other states.
In a notification issued last month by principal secretary, medical education and research Vini Mahajan, regarding postgraduate diploma/degree courses in the upcoming session, there is no reference to the Punjab domicile certificate for seeking admission to private medical colleges of the state. The decision was taken while introducing the National Eligibility Entrance Test for Post Graduate Courses (NEETPG-2013).
Earlier, it was mandatory for candidates to have the Punjab domicile certificate to get admission to postgraduate courses in private or government medical colleges from the seats reserved for residents of the state.
"The state government should have reserved seats in private colleges for residents of the state as it has done in the case of government colleges," said Dr Kamal Baghi, president, Punjab Unaided Private Medical and Dental Colleges' Association. He said in the absence of the domicile condition, students from Punjab would be forced to go to other states to pursue courses.
Sources in the state department of medical education and research said candidates had given a representation to the government on the issue.
However, as far as government institutions are concerned, 50% of the total seats in every institution shall be filled by the union government at the all-India level through NEETPG-2013. The remaining seats shall be filled through NEET-PG at the state level from among candidates having Punjab-resident status.
When contacted, Chunni Lal Bhagat, minister for medical education and research, Punjab, said, "We were apprised of the matter by some parents recently. The interests of Punjab's students will be taken care of."
Significantly, there are a total of 84 seats in dental postgraduate courses in private (33) and government colleges (51) of the state. In MD/MS courses, there are 450 seats in the state.