It was at the eleventh-hour that the eligibility criteria for 85%-state-quota seats in the MBBS/BDS course were changed, which makes the decision seem hasty and the Punjab government appear insensitive.
The notification affects hundreds of aspiring doctors from Punjab, Chandigarh, and the adjoining states, since it makes them ineligible for the medical quota of both Punjab and Chandigarh. Sources in the Punjab department of medical education and research said it had not proposed any change in the eligibility criteria in the draft notification sent to the state government last month.
It was only in a meeting at a higher level, later, that Class 10 was made an eligibility criterion and the department then put the clause in the revised draft notification that was approved and put on the department’s website on March 7. “The department had expressed verbally that the move would affect hundreds of students who were preparing for the MBBS under the old rules. We were assured that the changes were meant to streamline the system and give an advantage to the bona-fide residents of the state,” the source, who doesn’t want to be named, said.
On Wednesday, Punjab secretary for medical education Vini Mahajan said the changes were made on the plea of the state’s students, who found non-resident candidates a tough competition, since they pursued Class 11 and 12 from the state to just get the quota benefit. Sources in the department said it had received no representation.