The Congress on Sunday termed the government's decision to reduce the qualifying percentile for NEET PG 2023 to zero as "shocking" and questioned who would gain from it. On September 20, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) lowered the NEET PG 2023 qualifying percentile to zero, making all categories eligible for counseling.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh wrote on X that it is "absolutely shocking" that the Modi government has decided to lower the cut-off for admission to MD/MS programs through PG-NEET to the zeroth percentile, making individuals with the lowest test scores eligible.
This is a complete U-turn from the stand taken by the government in the Delhi High Court last July, he said and posted a screenshot of a media report on the government telling the HC last year that it cannot lower NEET-PG cut-off so as to the minimum standard of education is maintained.
"While most agree that access to medical education and supply of doctors needs to be dramatically increased to meet the demands, whom does it benefit to completely do away with minimum basic standards? Where are the merit-wallahs in the government and among its drum-beaters today?" Ramesh said.
"Will this not benefit only private medical colleges who want to sell the seats that are not being filled up to the highest bidder," he asked.
"Is this U-turn also being done to benefit children of very influential BJP leaders who would not have qualified without this scandalous dilution?" Ramesh said.
Union Health Ministry officials on Friday said setting the qualifying percentile for NEET PG 2023 exam at zero will enhance the pool of applicants who are eligible while maintaining the merit-based admissions process for PG medical programmes. They stated that only those scoring the highest marks will get admission to PG medical programmes.
According to the officials, the admission process will be transparent and will do away with the alleged backdoor entry that some private colleges offer. They dismissed as imaginary the speculation that students with zero percentile can also become specialist doctors.
The reality is that students with the highest marks will be eligible for admission to their choice of courses and colleges, they said. There are 68,142 PG medical seats in the country.
Till now, candidates scoring above 50 percentile were eligible to participate in the counselling process for medical PG admission through NEET. Last year, the qualifying criteria was kept at 20 percentile even then 3,000 seats remained vacant under the all India quota, the officials had said.
(With PTI Inputs)