The government on Thursday decided to provide 27 per cent reservation for OBCs and 10 per cent for the Economically Weaker Section under the All India Quota Scheme for UG and PG medical/dental courses from current academic year 2021-22. This would apply to MBBS/MD/MS/Diploma/BDS/MDS courses.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on July 26 directed the concerned Union Ministries to facilitate an effective solution to this long pending issue. This decision would benefit every year nearly 1500 OBC students in MBBS and 2500 OBC students in postgraduation and also around 550 EWS students in MBBS and around 1000 EWS students in postgraduation.
"Nearly 5,550 students will be benefitted. Government is committed to providing due reservation both to Backward Category and EWS Category," the Union Health Ministry said today.
Calling it a "landmark" decision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it will immensely help thousands of our youth every year get better opportunities and create a new paradigm of social justice in our country.
A long pending issue
The All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme was introduced in 1986 under the directions of the Supreme Court to provide for domicile-free merit based opportunities to students from any state to aspire to study in a good medical college located in another state.
All India Quota consists of 15% of total available UG seats and 50% of total available PG seats in government medical colleges. Initially, there was no reservation in AIQ Scheme up to 2007. In 2007, the Supreme Court introduced reservation of 15% for SCs and 7.5% for STs in the AIQ Scheme. When the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act became effective in 2007 providing for uniform 27% reservation to OBCs, the same was implemented in all the Central Educational Institutions viz. Safdarjung Hospital, Lady Harding Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University and Banaras Hindu University etc. However, this was not extended to the AIQ seats of State medical and dental colleges.
The OBC students from across the country shall now be able to take benefit of this reservation in AIQ Scheme to compete for seats in any state. Being a Central Scheme, the Central List of OBCs shall be used for this reservation. Around 1500 OBC students in MBBS and 2500 in postgraduation will be benefitted through this reservation.
In order to provide benefit to students belonging to EWS category in admission to higher educational Institutions, a Constitutional amendment was made in 2019 which enabled the provision of 10% reservation for EWS category. Accordingly, seats in medical / dental colleges were increased over two years in 2019-20 and 2020-21 to accommodate this additional 10% EWS reservation so that the total number of seats available for unreserved category do not reduce. In the AIQ seats, however, this benefit had not been extended so far.
Therefore, alongwith the 27% reservation for OBCs, 10% reservation for EWS is also being extended in AIQ seats for all the undergraduate / postgraduate medical/dental courses from the current academic year 2021-22. This will benefit every year around more than 550 EWS students for MBBS and around 1000 EWS students for PG medical courses.
This decision is also in sync with the significant reforms carried out in the field of medical education since 2014, the Health Ministry said. During the last six years, MBBS Seats in the country have increased by 56% from 54,348 seats in 2014 to 84,649 seats in 2020 and the number of PG seats have increased by 80% from 30,191seats in 2014 to 54,275 seats in 2020. During the same period, 179 new medical colleges have been established and now the country has 558 (Govt: 289, Pvt: 269) medical colleges, it said.