THE SUDDEN reduction of 40 seats in the 125-year old Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College (MGM) by the Medical Council of India (MCI), without even informing the college or the State Government, raised protests from various quarters today.
MGM Dean Dr V K Saini, who has recently been appointed as Director Medical Education (DME), told Hindustan Times that the MCI had taken objection to the scarcity of staff in the college a few years back after which the college had been inspected twice.
However, MCI suddenly reduced the total number of seats from 140 to 100 without any official intimation. The college has regularly been allotted 21 seats under the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) quota from the past two years since the controversy over lack of staff arose, but this year the number of seats was reduced to 15 during the counselling held on August 30, 2005.
The college, incepted in 1948, has a reputation of excellence and is in a much better condition than other government medical colleges of the State, while private colleges don’t even have basic regular staff and function with visiting faculty. Dr Saini said he would write a letter to Director General Health Education (DGHE) and MCI first thing after assuming charge as DME tomorrow.
According to sources, the number of seats at MGM was shown as 140 on the official website of MCI till June 1, after which the reduced number of seats was shown as 100. This reduction has brought the State Government quota down to 85 and that of AIPMT to 15.
The discrepancy in seat reduction is such that it has gone unreported (with earlier figure of 140) in the State Government gazette and MPPMT brochure apart from All India MCI website till the beginning of June.
The changes if any should have been declared before the exam process began, as students appearing for PMT in March and AIPMT in November-December were unaware of the fact that the seats had been reduced thus increasing competition and decreasing their chances of admission.
The students would also be inadvertently hurt from the re-introduction of NRI quota by the State Government after a failed effort three years earlier. A total of five seats are reserved under this quota and as the total number of seats has been reduced from the earlier 140 to 100 they would now be taken from the reduced figure.
The seats are divided into SC/ST/OBC/freedom fighter/physically handicapped/NRI categories with remaining going to the general category.
Youth For Equality (YFE) national spokesman Dr Anand Rai said that the manner in which the seats had been reduced in this particular college seemed to be a part of a bigger exercise aimed at increasing reservation percentage.
The timing of reduction of seats by MCI and re-introduction of NRI quota by the State Government had come as a double blow to general category students.
Health and Medical Education Minister Ajai Vishnoi, who was in the City yesterday, had also claimed ignorance on the issue and after consultation with MGM Dean and his secretary promised to take up the matter with MCI in Delhi. However, he acknowledged that MCI being an independent body the State Government could only try to persuade them and not argue with them.
Guidelines for college inspectors
According to MCI Gazette Part-II, section-IV, Appendice IX (inspection of examination) it is stated that the inspector would “attend personally every examination which he is required to inspect but not to interfere with the conduct thereof, (ii) to inspect the medical colleges, hospitals and other institutions in regard to matters like the standard of staff, equipment, accommodation, training and other facilities for medical education.”
Similarly, under Appendice-X (visitors appointed by the council) he is expected to “include in his report a statement to the extent to which the recommendations of the Council in regard to professional examinations have been carried out in the case of each examination visited by him and also to what extent the recommendations of the council on professional education have been given effect to in the visitation, and also the facilities for teaching in regard to accommodation, staff, equipment, existing in the medical colleges and associated hospitals and other institutions visited by him”.