NEET aspirants wait in queue to enter inside the exam hall in Thane on September 13, 2020. (HT FILE)
NEET aspirants wait in queue to enter inside the exam hall in Thane on September 13, 2020. (HT FILE)

Delay in admissions for professional courses: Students forced to look for options outside Maharashtra

Delay owing to pandemic, confusion over inclusion of 12% SEBC quota; CET cell has declared six merit lists so far
By Priyanka Sahoo and Shreya Bhandary
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2021 12:33 AM IST

Vaishnavi Chandra, 18, secured 540 out of 720 in her National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) and was sure to secure admission at a private medical institute in Maharashtra.

However, with admissions in the state still underway, Chandra was forced to confirm her admission in Karnataka under the all India quota (AIQ) as a backup.

Chandra is among a host of students forced to confirm admissions in states outside Maharashtra, despite wanting to study in the state. The reason: an unprecedented delay in admissions to professional courses.

Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and the confusion over the inclusion of a 12% socially and economically backward classes (SEBC) quota, the admissions to professional courses such as medical, law, management, architecture and engineering have been delayed by over three months.

In September last year, the Supreme Court (SC) had stayed all recruitment and admissions in education institutes under the SEBC quota for the 2020-21 academic year, with exception to the postgraduate medical admissions. On September 21, the Maharastra government had filed a petition in the Apex court to vacate the stay on admissions, the court, however, had adjourned the hearing by four weeks. On November 24, the state government released a government resolution (GR) clarifying that all admissions, will for the time being be conducted without the inclusion of the SEBC quota, until there’s clarity from SC, on the matter.

Although the Common Entrance Test (CET) Cell, which conducts all admissions, has started the process and is releasing merit lists, many students find themselves in a fix after having confirmed their admissions elsewhere.

“The AIQ round is conducted by the Central government and once we confirm our seats in the AIQ round, we are also still eligible for admissions under domicile quota in our state institutes. But this time, MBBS admissions in Maharashtra were delayed due to lack of clarity on Maratha quota and I had no choice but to stick to my AIQ seat,” said Chandra. She added that several students are stuck with their AIQ seat in other states, despite having scored well enough to bag a seat in an institute in Maharashtra itself. The CET cell has so far, declared six merit lists.

Students, who have confirmed their seats elsewhere, are worried they may have to forego their fees should they choose to cancel their admissions and come back to Maharashtra.

Meena S, 19, a resident of Mumbai, who wanted admission in Sir JJ School of Architecture, has now confirmed her admission in an institution in New Delhi, after waiting long enough for admissions in Maharashtra to begin. Two rounds of merit lists have been announced so far and the process is still ongoing.

“I wasn’t sure when the admissions in Maharashtra were to begin. I didn’t want to lose a year, so I secured my seat in Delhi under the AIQ. Now I am unsure about the refund from the Delhi institute if I decide to confirm my seat in Maharashtra. Not everyone can afford to forego the fees for an entire semester,” said Meena.

For engineering aspirants, so far only two merit lists have been announced. “In other states, colleges have already started their first semesters. I am attending classes online now, but in Maharashtra, the admission process is in its initial leg,” said an engineering aspirant who has confirmed his seat in Rajasthan.

CET Cell, however, maintained that the delay in admissions had not affected the students’ decision in the selection of colleges. “I doubt students faced trouble with admissions delay because the response has been better than we expected in certain courses including engineering. We’ve received more applications this year compared to last year,” said C Joshi, commissioner, state CET cell.

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