How NEET high scorers, pvt institutes colluded to make a quick buck

An all-India examination for admission to medical and dental colleges, NEET replaced a clutch of separate entrance exams in 2016.

A section of candidates with high scores in the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) colluded with private colleges to block seats till the last minute, allowing the institutes to sell the seats to low rank holders, an HT investigation has found.

An all-India examination for admission to medical and dental colleges, NEET replaced a clutch of separate entrance exams in 2016.

The scam has come to light years after the multi-layered exam-rigging scandal in Madhya Pradesh, commonly known as the Vyapam scam, which saw a racket of touts, officials and candidates rig entrance tests to professional medical colleges between 2004 and 2013.

In the latest scam, HT found that the high-scoring candidates blocked the seats in the initial counselling rounds and withdrew in the last minute so that the colleges could trade the vacancies for money.

Private colleges in at least three states — Bihar, Karnataka and Puducherrry – might be been involved in the corrupt practice, commission agents told HT.

And this is how they did it.

A high rank holder, who has already taken admission in another state, say Uttar Pradesh, went to Bihar, appeared in the first or second round of counselling and blocked a seat.

“We acted as a mediator between the college and some of the high rank holders. The deal varied between Rs 5 lakh to 20 lakh depending upon the colleges,” an agent said.

After the initial counselling rounds, a Supreme Court directive allows the designated authorities to provide a list of candidates in the order of merit to the colleges in the ratio 1:10, which means a list containing ten times more candidates than vacant seats.

“When it went to the college level, the high rank holders withdrew their claims increasing the vacancy and giving opportunities to colleges to use its own discretion,” the agent added.

Colleges gave seats even to candidates outside the list provided by the counselling authorities.

Prabhat Kumar, director of medical education in Bihar, admitted to the goings on.
“We asked candidates to deposit demand drafts in the name of the colleges. Perhaps that allowed candidate to collude with colleges to block seats,” says Kumar.
“The last-minute vacancy trend shows that seats were blocked. We will take steps to prevent that next time.”
Dr Sachidanand, director of medical education in Karnataka too admitted that there might be possibilities of blocking of seat because the Karnataka Examination Authority (KEA), designated to hold counselling, didn’t deposit original certificates of candidates.

“We thought it would cause inconvenience to the students,” Dr Sachidanand said.

Agents claim that the modus operandi was different in Karnataka.

“Seats were allotted in private colleges but the first-year fee worth Rs 6.32 lakh was deposited with the KEA. So the college agreed to pay the candidate the first year fee along with the commission to block the seat because candidate has to forfeit Rs 6.32 lakh for the withdrawal,” says the agent.

In Puducherry, the Central Admission Committee (Centac), the designated authority for counselling, found that at the mop-up round the total number of vacant seats were 96 but colleges admitted more than 150 students.

“It means dozens of students had blocked the seat and withdrew at the last moment,” said a senior official from Centac.

The private colleges didn’t admit a single student from the list of 960 that Centac gave it.

When contacted, PT Rudra Goud, co-ordinator, Centac, said, “We have received admission details from all the colleges and we are examining it.”

Other states, such as Punjab and Rajasthan, denied any such possibility of seat blocking as officials said that they didn’t hand over seats to the colleges beforehand.

“Even the last candidate who was allotted seat in a college was through government counselling,” said Dr Raj Bahadur, vice chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences.

FORDA alleges corruption in SR recruitment at Safdarjang Hospital

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Resident doctors’ welfare bodies have alleged that there were irregularities in the recruitment of senior resident doctors at the Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital, a charge dismissed by the hospital administration.

The Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), that works for the welfare of resident doctors all over India, and the AIIMS Resident Doctors’ Association have alleged that the hospital administration violated the norm of mandatory written examination in the recruitment procedure.


More than 500 resident doctors had applied for over 200 posts of senior resident doctors in different departments advertised by the hospital administration.

The AIIMS RDA has also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a CBI inquiry into the matter to “eliminate the chronic disease of corruption which is paralysing health system of India”.

The letter states that the recruitment was done at a short notice instead of giving at least 15 days time. It claims that the posts were advertised on September 4 and direct walk-in interviews were conducted on September 11.

In a letter addressed to the medical superintendent dated September 8, the Union health ministry had also asked the hospital to follow the process of written examination for the selection of senior resident doctors.

“The hospital should follow the method of written examination for the selection of senior residents. This is in line with the practice being followed in the selection of senior residents in Safdarjung as well as other central government hospitals in the past,” the letter stated.

Dr A K Rai, the Medical Superintendent of the hospital, however, dismissed the allegations saying written examination is not mandatory and there are no set guidelines for the recruitment process.

“Does FORDA have any proof for their allegations. The charges are baseless,” he said.

FORDA President Dr Vivek Chouksey alleged that the hospital administration directly conducted interviews without holding the written exam.

The FORDA also alleged that the administration violated the 40-year age limit, set by the health ministry for recruitment of senior residents, by reducing it to 33 years.

“We demand that the health ministry conducts an inquiry into the matter. There is a huge corruption going on in the recruitment of senior resident doctors and assistant professors,” Chouksey alleged.

“The Prime Minister has emphasised that recruitment of government employees should be through written examination and not direct interviews. However the Safdarjung hospital authorities violated it,” he said.

NEET-PG will be one session exam: Central Government

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The Central Government has issued a communication that this year’s NEET PG exam would be held in just one session. This decision is apparently in response to the growing demand to hold National Eligibility cum Entrance Test(NEET) for both PG medical and dental courses.

Ever since NEET was made the only entry point to PG and SS courses, the medical fraternity has demanded that NEET PG be held in a single session to ensure a level playing field for all PG aspirants.

“For post graduate admission in our country, with one national level exam, around 1 lakh doctors would give the exam after MBBS for entry into PG. It is important that the exam pattern creates a level playing field for all students. Till now, the exam is held over a duration of 8 to 10 days, with each student getting a specific date, with students being exposed to a number of luck factors rather than fairness. Moreover, students are also exposed to inefficient infrastructure and suffer with major drawbacks such as system failure and computer crashes. It is important that all these issues be sorted out before holding NEET PG and NEET SS this year,” said Dr. Sagar Mundada, ex- President of MARD(Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors).

With such issues in the backdrop, on June 2017, a complaint was filed with the Prime Minister’s office. In response, the Prime Minister’s office itself has stated that NEET PG would be held in a single session, and also that Prometric would no more conduct the exam.

Book Review: PG NEXT 2017 Supplement

Kalam Books has recently published ‘PG NEXT 2017 Supplement’, a much-awaited release after their highly acclaimed book ‘PG NEXT’ published last year for the NEET-PG aspirants. This book fills the void caused by a lack of a proper reference guide for PG aspirants after the new pattern of exam was implemented. Released at an optimum time of approximately three months before the exam, this book literally justifies its name – it takes your PG preparation to the NEXT level just before the exams when you are running short of time.

The approach of this book is very different from the other so-called guide books currently available in the market. It does not aim to overburden the student with lengthy and voluminous text. Instead it focuses on the core area – the development of concepts – through short discussion of questions asked in recent exams. While one starts reading the book, it soon casts an addictive spell on the reader; the discussion of one question prompts you to go to the next question. All the explanations have been written by respective subject experts. The book is handy and can be carried anywhere – in the library, classroom or wards. The font size and the page quality are good, making it a treat for the eyes.

The book contains more than 1600 MCQs arranged in subject-wise manner covering all the subjects of undergraduate medical curricula. The questions are arranged in subject-wise manner so that students who want to check their preparation in a particular subject can do so easily. The MCQs have been chosen carefully based on the latest NEET / AIPGMEE pattern, so as to acquaint the readers with the type of questions likely to be asked in the forthcoming NEET-PG exam.

Detailed explanatory answers have been provided for each and every MCQ asked in the question section. References from the latest editions of the standard textbooks have been provided for in-depth learning. Numerous tables, flow-charts, diagrams and mnemonics have been incorporated at appropriate places making the process of learning easy for students. Emphasis has been given on grasping the basic concept behind the questions instead of rote learning.

A cardinal feature of this book is the inclusion of 100-plus image based questions similar to what candidates have faced in the actual examination. With the introduction of image based questions in NEET –PG and also in AIIMS examinations, the preparation strategy has underwent a sea change. The few guide books available in the market are unreliable and often fall short of the students expectations. This book fills the void of a reliable book containing the latest NEET/DNB pattern questions, as it has been prepared by a group of experts who are renowned in their respective fields and are associated with mentoring medical PG aspirants for a long time, whose feedback have been incorporated in this book. In short, this is the ultimate indispensable tool for NEET-PG, which takes your preparation to the next level. The publishers have taken care to keep the book available on online e-commerce platforms so that students from remote locations can buy it easily.

Click Here to Buy

PG aspirants seek exemption from Article 371 D: Andhra government

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After super-specialty courses, now post-graduate (PG) students are seeking exemption from Article 371 D to get admission in medical colleges of other States. In this regard, the State government has written a letter to Central Health Minister J P Nadda and other officials to make AP a part of the national pool quota.

Recently, candidates seeking admissions in super speciality courses DM and M.Ch approached the High court of Hyderabad contending that all open seats in institutions affiliated to NTR Health University, Vijayawada and Kaloji University of Health Sciences, Warangal have to be filled based upon the presidential order Article 371 D. This article states that officials are not entitled to conduct a common counselling at the National-level for the seats coming within the control of the Universities in Telangana State and Andhra Pradesh.

However, a majority of the people opposed it and even the High court passed an interim order declaring that the 15 per cent seats can be filled by anyone from the country based upon NEET rank.

With this order, nearly 67 candidates from AP have secured admissions in other States’ colleges. There are 1,323 seats for DM and 1,234 seats in M.ch across the country. In AP, only 49 DM seats and 47 Mch seats are available. If AP is included in the national pool, it will benefit the students from AP and Telangana region.

Just as super-specialty courses got an exemption from Article 371 D for the open category of seats (15 percent), medical aspirants are requesting the government to implement the same for PG courses like MD, MS etc. At present, the State has only 774 clinical PG seats in seven government medical colleges across the State and including all clinical, nonclinical and diploma courses, a total of 6,074 seats are available in the State.

Y Mayuri, a medical student preparing for PG NEET 2018 said, “Across the country, there are over 40,000 seats available for pursuing PG. Due to Article 371D, we are losing the opportunity to acquire the 15 per cent national quota which means a lot for us. We hope that from the coming year, an exemption is given for post-graduate courses too like those given to super specialty courses.”

Meanwhile, the department of Health and Medical education is also planning to join in the national pool quota where the candidates from the State will be eligible to take up admission in colleges of other states. Earlier, Minister Kamineni Srinivas Rao said, “We are planning to join in national pool quota, which in turn will benefit the State students as they can avail the opportunities in other States too. We have written a letter to Minister J P Nadda, who assured us that he will initiate it by the coming academic year. It needs to be approved by the President and also by the Parliament.”

US-based Prometric won’t conduct NEET-PG 2017

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The US-based company Prometric Testings that until now conducted the National Eligibility and Entrance Test Post Graduate (NEET-PG) has said it will not be conducting the winter exam in 2017.

 

The National Board of Examinations (NBE) and Prometric have mutually agreed to part ways, the company said in a statement on Friday.

 

The NBE will now look for a new partner to conduct the November-December examination for the NEET-PG.

 

Introduced in December 2012, NEET-PG is an eligibility-cum-ranking examination prescribed as the single entrance examination to various MD/MS and PG Diploma Courses as per Section (10) of Indian Medical Council Act 1956.

 

As the testing partner, Prometric administered more than 400,000 NEET-PG exams to students over the last six years. However, in July the testing company admitted to Delhi Police that their software “can be breached”.

 

The November-December exam would have been the last administration in its partnership. However, following students demand for single-day testing the contract ended, it said.

 

“We are extremely disappointed to not be administering the winter NEET-PG administration under the circumstances,” said Soumitra Roy, Managing Director, Prometric India.

 

“We will continue to support NBE in a smooth transition of its programme in the best interests of students and test takers,” the company added.

 

The Delhi High Court on August 21 sought reply from the Centre and the police on a plea seeking court-monitored CBI/SIT probe into the alleged illegalities in the NEET 2016, conducted by Prometric.

 

The company said it has provided the authorities access to their key technology and operations experts. “We proactively continue to support the authorities in their investigation,” it said.