Clearing its stand on admission in medical courses under the 15% quota for non-resident Indians (NRIs), the Punjab government has decided to hold a separate entrance exam for them, for MBBS and BDS seats in government as well as private colleges.
Three months ago, citing legal issues, the state medical education department had abolished the entrance test for NRIs and notified that their admission would be on the basis of their merit in Class 12 or an equivalent examination with physics, chemistry and biology as subjects.
On Saturday, Dr Manjit Mohi, director of medical education and research, told HT that with minister Anil Joshi approving the decision, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) will soon be told to make arrangements and decide on the dates and exam centres.
The abolishment of the test earlier had not gone down well with academicians as they felt it undermined merit, though private medical colleges were happy since NRI quota admissions is a prime source of revenue for them.
The scene changed after Supreme Court’s recent decision to uphold a single entrance exam for the entire country.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), which holds the National Entrance and Eligibility Test (NEET), also made it clear recently that NRI quota in private colleges and in deemed universities would be filled through NEET’s second phase. The Centre’s ordinance after the SC order did give the states the chance to hold their own entrance test, but also compelled Punjab to fill NRI quota seats in government colleges through a test.
When asked why NRIs were not considered for the Punjab Pre-Medical Entrance Test (PMET), Dr Mohi said delay in seeking legal opinion on the Centre’s ordinance took time.
As for the possibility of NRI-quota seats remaining vacant after the test, she said these would then be converted into general and other categories as per the already-set procedure.
Chandigarh-based PMET trainer Arvind Goyal welcomed the move and said that it was in consonance with the SC verdict.
“Since NRI aspirants are from different countries and come through varying qualifying examinations, it is essential to have a uniform evaluation of their academic ability,” he said.
There are 102 NRI seats in Punjab’s government and private medical colleges for MBBS, while in dental colleges (for BDS) the number is 169.