A Mumbai-based media consultant has filed a petition with the Bombay high court, requesting that the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) for postgraduate (PG) medical courses be abolished and that all willing medical graduates be allowed to pursue PG courses so that an adequate number of specialists are available to the general public.
Petitioner Ravi Nair argued in his public interest lawsuit that the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the medical field’s weaknesses and the fact that there is a major shortage of doctors not just in rural India but also in metropolises.
Nair has claimed that one of the ideas he conceptualised as an alternative to PG-NEET has been accepted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the civic body has decided to start six mini medical colleges and considerably enhance the number of medical seats.
His petition added that if the concept was replicated in 720 districts across the country,it can easily triple existing medical seats available nationwide and also reach close to a healthy doctor: patients ratio of 1:1000, as contemplated by the World Health Organixation.
The 56-year-old media consultant has claimed that the PG-NEET has not only restricted the number of PG medical seats to 43,000 – half of 86,000 MBBS seats, but the shortage of seats has also given rise to the problem of corruption in the admission process and demand and payment of huge capitation fees.
“The petitioner is of the opinion that if all 86,000 students who have completed MBBS, having studied for 5-and-a-half years, to move forward and do post graduation in the discipline of their choice, in the same medical college as in-house students, it would provide a large contingent of medical professionals,” stated the petition.
It added that the petitioner has “after a lot of study through discussion with cross sections of persons, private and government, connected to medical education, has come to the conclusion that there is no need for NEET-PG to be conducted for a doctor who had graduated, licensed and registered as a doctor with the Medical Council of India.”
“They are declared doctors and have the right to study higher and practice and yet they are forced by the system to go back to the next step of NEET where they began their carriers 5-and-half years ago,” Nair’s petition added.
The petition added that under- graduate medical courses are available at 542 medical colleges across the nation, but PG medical courses are available only in 64 colleges.