The Punjab government is inclined to reject NRI candidates’ plea to relax the criteria for MBBS admission.
This year, only two NRI candidates could become eligible to appear in counselling for MBBS admission against 72 NRI seats. As per the admission criteria mentioned in the prospectus, any candidate who wants to appear for counselling will have to get an eligibility certificate from Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Faridkot, which conducts counselling for all medical colleges in the state.
However, as per the BFUHS prospectus, only those candidates who have scored minimum 50% marks in the AIPMPT-2014 are eligible and only they will be allowed to appear for counselling. Only two NRI candidates could score the mandatory 50% marks in the AIPMT.
Sources said that following this, some influential NRIs whose children couldn’t even qualify for the examination have approached Punjab minister of medical education and research Anil Joshi and minister for NRI affairs Tota Singh, pleading to scrap the minimum 50% criteria and make the NRI candidates eligible on the basis of Class 12 marks. Officials in the medical education department confirmed about such representations being made at the top level.
However, sources in the department of medical education said the government was inclined to reject the NRI candidates’ plea. “When they couldn’t even get the minimum required marks, it means they have failed to meet the standards that Punjab medical colleges require. So we can’t do anything,” said a senior official of the department.
As per the rule, if the NRI seats remain vacant after the second counselling, the procedure is to award these on general merit in government colleges and convert them to the management quota in private ones. The management-quota annual fee in private colleges from the 2014 session will be Rs. 6.6 lakh but the NRI candidates pay $1 lakh (about Rs. 60 lakh). Meanwhile, parents of regular candidates have already said that any move regarding this would not only violate the sanctity of the prospectus but would also subvert the merit. The parents also submitted a representation to director medical education Dr Tejbir Singh.
“The criteria for the abovementioned seats were clearly laid down by the Punjab government well in advance vide the Government of Punjab, Department of Medical Education and Research notification. So parents/wards of prospective NRI students should have no reason to complain after the examination results have been declared. If indeed, they were unhappy with the criteria, they should have made a representation before the examination,” said parents of regular MBBS candidates.
They have appealed to the government not to change the criteria for NRI admissions in retrospect as this would affect the prospects of admissions of hundreds of residents of Punjab whose prospects for securing an MBBS seat in the state have already been compromised.
This is because of the reduced number of seats in several medical colleges in comparison with last year and the failure of at least one medical college in the state to get permission from the Medical Council of India to restart the MBBS course.