Apprehensions about PG medical admissions and boycott of work to demand a better deal notwithstanding, in-service government doctors have this year appropriated almost all postgraduate seats in government colleges, even without a high score in NEET-PG.
A provisional merit list released by the state selection committee for postgraduate degree and diploma seats in government colleges, government quota in self-financing colleges and Raja Muthiah Medical College, only 25 of 4,294 candidates are from the non-service-category. In the first phase of counselling, 709 government doctors were allotted seats, versus 13 from the non-service-category.
“This was expected and we had little time to do anything about it. We were forced to follow the high court order,” selection committee secretary G Selvaraju said.
On April 17, a single judge of the Madras high court ruled that Tamil Nadu must follow the latest MCI regulations in awarding of incentive marks to in-service candidates. As against a maximum of 10 marks under state rules, the MCI regulation envisaged a maximum of 30% of marks scored by a candidate in the NEET-PG examination as service incentive. Government doctors perceived it as a setback, filed appeals and went on strike. After a division bench delivered a split verdict, the third judge upheld the MCI rules, paving the way for award of 30% of NEET-PG score as incentive for canddiates. It ushered in a single rank list scheme and did away with reserving 50% of available seats in the government quota for inservice candidates.
As a result, this year, almost all PG medical seats on offer have been bagged by service candidates. For instance, the first non-service candidate to get a seat was Dr Mohamed Thariq S, who scored 1,109 in NEET-PG. He was called after 514 government doctors, many of whom scored less than him but bagged seats in the prestigious Madras Medical College (MMC). Another candidate, Dr Srinivasan M, with 1,102 in NEETPG, ranked fourth in the state after the state added 330.74 marks (30% of his NEET score) for three years of service in government hospitals. He was allotted MD (radio diagnosis) seat in MMC.
Health department officials agree that this is not a fair way to conduct counselling. “We are framing rules for impartial incentives. A committee comprising of various bodies of doctors and the government are in the panel to ensure fair play . It will be introduced from the next academic year,” health secretary J Radhakrishnan said.
NEET shock as Government docs corner 98% of PG seats
Thirteen out of 722 seats, or a meagre 1.8 per cent. That is all toppers of NEET-PG examination among the non-service doctors (who are not serving in government hospitals) managed to get during the first phase of counselling for postgraduate seats in Tamil Nadu that was held earlier this month.
The ongoing second phase is slightly better. On Thursday, day two of counselling in this phase, 38 private candidates obtained seats against 308 government service doctors though much of them were allegedly accommodated in PG diploma and non-clinical courses and not in the more-in-demand clinical masters degree courses.
The government’s manoeuvre to escape the wrath of the government doctors agitating against the Madras High Court order abolishing 50 per cent reservation for them in government quota PG seats has hit the prospects of high-performing private sector candidates, including even the SC communities, who failed to get even a diploma seat.
After the court ruled against reservation for in-service doctors but permitted it to allot incentives to those serving in areas identified as remote or hilly, the State government notified most of the rural areas as remote/hilly, allege private candidates.
This had a big impact on the ongoing counselling as all government service doctors posted at PHCs and other hospitals in these areas stood to gain 10 marks for each year they served.
This changed the rank list, which, the other side alleges, is akin to rigging and gerrymandering. According to them, there could be less than 100 service doctors who work in areas that are actually remote or hilly.
S Prakash, a Scheduled Caste category candidate from Madurai, is one such disappointed professional. Having scored 884.6666 marks in NEET-PG, he stood 242 in the State in the all-India rank list, a mark good enough to get him a non-clinical masters degree seat under the all-India quota in a medical college in Mumbai. But he decided against it, expecting that he would get a clinical degree seat in the State quota in his native.
“But after calculating the incentive awarded to service doctors, my rank dropped to 383, not enough for even a diploma seat. I’ve lost hopes of pursuing masters,” said the dejected young doctor, who had come to attend the second phase of counselling at the Government Multi-Super-Speciality Hospital on Friday.
Another heartbroken aspirant was K Anbarasan, who was originally at 253rd rank in the State, which, however, went down to 415 after the service doctors below him on the list were given the incentive. But not all doctors stop with blaming their fate to have written the test in the wrong year. A few of them have approached the Madras High Court.
“We need to know how the powers given to the State government to notify remote and hilly areas have turned in favour of service doctors,” said N Karthikeyan, one of the petitioners.
However, as Express had reported, the State health department has been struggling with shortage of specialists at taluk and district headquarters hospitals due to non-service candidates selected under government quota violating the mandatory two-year service bond.
This year’s fact sheet
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Psychiatric medicine and others
Anatomy; Biochemistry; Community medicine; Microbiology; Pathology; Pharmacology; Physiology; Forensic medicine
In all, 13 non-service doctors secured seats in the first phase of counselling:
2 secured diploma seats
3 secured non-clinical masters degree
8 secured clinical masters degree
Last year: Total: 1,235; Non-service: 381 (30.8 per cent)