The Union Health Ministry has announced 27% reservation for the OBCs (Other Backward Classes) and 10% quota for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in the All India Quota (AIQ) for NEET, the uniform entrance examination for medical and dental colleges across the country.
The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is the entrance examination for entry to all undergraduate (NEET-UG) and postgraduate (NEET-PG) medical and dental courses in the country.
The AIQ 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 medical college located in another State. It comprises 15% of UG seats and 50% of PG seats in government medical colleges.
Initially, there was no reservation in the AIQ up to 2007. That year, the Supreme Court introduced the reservation of 15% for SCs and 7.5% for STs in the scheme.
When the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act became effective in 2007, providing for uniform 27% reservation to the 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 the benefit of this reservation in AIQ to compete for seats in any State. Being a Central scheme, the Central List of OBCs shall be used for this reservation. This would benefit nearly 1,500 OBC students in MBBS and 2,500 OBC students in postgraduate courses and around 550 and 1,000 EWS students respectively, according to a statement issued by the Health Ministry.
In 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 by 80%, from 30,191seats in 2014 to 54,275 seats in 2020. In the same period, 179 new medical colleges have been established and now the country has 558 (govt 289, pvt. 269) medical colleges.