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NEET-MDS 2024: SC to decide on March 15 as several students demand postponement of exam

Several NEET-MDS aspirants have expressed their displeasure and have demanded an early hearing after the hearing date was announced for March 15.

Edited By: India TV News Desk New Delhi Updated on: March 13, 2024 23:57 IST
NEET MDS
Image Source : FILE PHOTO Representational image

New Delhi: The Supreme Court is all set to hear the case regarding the postponement of the NEET-MDS 2024 Exam on March 15 (Friday) just three days before the exam date. The NEET-MDS 2024 Exam Date is March 18 (Monday) as of now. Several MDS students petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the decision not to reschedule the exam date because they believed it would prevent thousands of them from appearing in the most important exam of their professional career growth.

Several NEET-MDS aspirants have expressed their displeasure and have demanded an early hearing after the hearing date was announced for March 15, the same day when the MDS admit cards are likely to be released. The candidates are asking the court to hear the matter earlier because they are very confused about the hearing, which is scheduled just three days before the exam.

According to several students, interns from various states have suffered a 7-9 month break in training due to COVID-19 and hence their internship completion dates have been extended to August. The authorities have set the current exam eligibility criteria as March 31 which according to them is unfair.

A group of applicants had previously requested the Supreme Court to move the NEET-MDS 2024 exam to July. The Supreme Court ordered the Centre to decide on the representation for the NEET-MDS 2024 Exam as soon as possible during its hearing on February 21. However, even after the court's directive, the government remained indecisive. The petition filed by the aspirants reads, "It is evident that the counselling has always commenced after the internship cut-off date. In 2023 too, the internship cut-off date was June 30, 2023 for NEET MDS and the tentative common counselling for NEET PG and NEET MDS was issued only in August, 2023."

What is the issue?

2018-2019: Petitioners are the 2018 Bachelor of Dental Surgery Batch that took admission in September 2018. First-year University results were declared in September 2019. No delay.

May 2021: Second-year results normally declared in September 2020, were declared 7 months late in May 2021 due to Covid.

June 2022: Third-year results are normally declared in September 2021, and declared in June 2022 on account of the delay in the declaration of results in the previous year.

June 2023: Fourth-year results normally declared in September 2022, declared in June, 2023 (except Kerala July 2023) due to the delay in the declaration of the results in the previous years.

July 2023: One-year compulsory rotatory Internship for student interns begins.

December 2023: National Medical Council does a survey of all the colleges and found that a large number of MBBS interns of the 2018 batch would finish their internship only after June 2024 and would lose one year if the eligibility/cut-off date was 31st March 2024 and that therefore the eligibility (cut-off date) for finishing the internship had to be extended accordingly. However, the Dental Council of India did no such survey. The BDS students are identically situated as the MBBS students.

January 9, 2024: The National Board of Examination in Medical Science (NBEMS) declared the eligibility/cut-off date for participating in the NEET-PG 2024 as 15.8.24 and the examination date as 7.7.24.

January 20, 2024: The NBEMS declares the eligibility/cut-off date for finishing the internship as 31.3.24 and the examination date as 18.3.24 despite knowing that the Internship will be completed in June 2024, (Kerala in September 2024) for BDS students. By fixing the cutoff date for eligibility for participating in the NEET MDS 2024 examination as 31st March 2024, 40% of the 2018 BDS batch interns will not have completed their internship. Roughly 8000 students all across India including Kerala, Orissa, MP, UP, J&K, AP & Rajasthan will be excluded.

There is an overlap of the UG course curriculum for the first three years of the MBBS and BDS courses, and it is only from the fourth year that the students branch off into various medical and dental speciality subjects.

It is after the fourth year, that the students are admitted into a one-year compulsory rotatory internship programme where they get adequate clinical experience in various specialty departments.

Both the BDS as well as the MBBS students went through the Covid period together and suffered the same delays in the holding of the yearly examinations and training.

Therefore, it is discriminatory for the cutoff date to be pushed back from 31 March 2024 to 15th August 2024 for the 2018 batch of MBBS interns, and not for the BDS students.

Counselling for the MBBS students and BDS students after the internship period is over has always been held at the same time.

In an exclusive interaction with India TV Digital, Dr Ayesha Nazrin, an intern student of the 2018 batch of the Government Dental College and Hospital in Mumbai, said student interns pan India are left with extreme mental stress and uncertainty due to inadequate preparation time. "The student interns are being denied the right to compete fairly with their peers as they fall short on their theoretical and clinical acumen which is a crucial merit-determining factor. Only postponing the exam will give these students the adequate time necessary to compete fairly," she said.

"The notion of separate counselling for NEET-MDS 2024 cannot hold up for the simple fact that separate admission is not feasible in hospitals where NEET PG and NEET MDS batches supplement each other in patient care. For example, if a road traffic accident patient comes in with complex facial trauma then a whole team of various specialists come in together to treat and rehabilitate the patient. We need Neurosurgeons, Anesthesiologists, ENT surgeons, Maxillofacial surgeons, Prosthodontists, Orthodontists etc working in tandem to get the patient back up. They train together in sync for the best medical outcome for everyone. So it's evident that all the students taking the exam on March 18, 2024 will be sitting idle till common counselling and admissions take place at the end of the year with the MBBS counterparts. Not to mention thousands of students who are being debarred from the said exam. It's unfair towards every aspirant in every aspect," added Dr Nazrin.

Dr Rishabh Chakraborty, another student intern, raised his concern about the issue and said, "It's alarming how the MoHFW is jeopardising the career growth of thousands of hard-working student interns of the 2018 Covid batch who won't be eligible till August-September. Every year they send us through the same trauma cycle. This needs to be put to an end for good."

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