Mumbai: More than 1,000 postgraduate (PG) medical seats across the country have gone vacant this year, of which 296 seats are in Maharashtra. Admissions to the PG medical courses conducted by the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) ended on May 9.
Subsequent to this, parents and students are demanding changes in admission rules to ensure that seats in important courses don’t go vacant every year. “The fact that seats in clinical as well as non-clinical courses across the country have gone vacant this year is an alarming trend. Authorities, both in state and central government, need to look into this problem and fix it at the earliest,” said Muzaffar Khan, a medical education activist based out of Thane. He added that a change in admission policy, introduced by MCC this year, could be a reason for the high number of vacant seats.
Till the previous academic year, admissions to seats under the All-India Quota (AIQ) and state medical colleges were conducted simultaneously because vacant seats in AIQ after the second round were surrendered to respective states for state quota rounds. In December 2021, however, MCC released a notification stating that 2021-22 academic year onwards, four AIQ rounds will be conducted by MCC itself–AIQ 1, AIQ 2, mop-up round 1, and stray vacancy round. No seats will be surrendered to state admission bodies, said MCC. AIQ rounds are conducted to fill up 15% of seats in government and private UG medical institutes and 50% seats in government and private PG medical institutes.
“Many students who were waiting for seats in a particular course in government medical institutes ended up blocking seats in private institutions during the AIQ rounds and withdrew admissions once they got seats in state seat allotment rounds. This has led to a large number of seat vacancies in private medical colleges across courses including surgery and ENT,” said a final year PG resident student.
Information shared by the state common entrance test (CET) cell shows that of the total 1928 PG medical seats available in government medical colleges and private institutes in Maharashtra this year, 1,632 seats have got confirmed whereas 295 remain unclaimed as of May 11–134 of these seats are vacant is in GMCs and in private Institutes, vacancy stands at 162. While MCC has declared the last date of admission, the state CET cell is yet to call for a deadline and plans to conduct another round of seat allotment to fill vacant seats.
Earlier this year, the National Medical Commission (NMC) revealed that a total of 1,425 post-graduate seats, 1,365 broad-specialty, and 60 diplomas remained vacant in the 2020-21 academic year. This was in response to a query raised at the Lok Sabha and the NMC had attributed the seat vacancy to a delay in admissions in the previous academic year.