Telangana’s medical seat dilemma: Will local students lose out even after the expiry of Reorganisation Act?

Telangana is yet to formulate a plan to address the approximately 302 undergraduate and postgraduate seats in government medical colleges that were established before 2014.

BySumit Jha

Published Jun 24, 2024 | 7:00 AM Updated Jun 24, 2024 | 7:00 AM

Osmania General Hospital. (Supplied)

With the expiry of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014 on 2 June, there is a lack of clarity on admission to medical seats in medical colleges in Telangana established before 2014 under the “Competent Authority Quota”.

According to the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act of 2014, 15 percent of these medical seats under the quota in Telangana were shared with Andhra Pradesh and vice-versa.

However, a 2023 Government Order (GO) of the Telangana government mandated that all seats reserved under the quota in the medical colleges established after 2 June 2014 — post the bifurcation — would be allotted exclusively for the residents of the state.

With the completion of a decade since the bifurcation of the state from Andhra Pradesh, the Reorganisation Act expired on 2 June 2024, there is a lack of clarity regarding the admissions to medical colleges in Telangana established before 2014.

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Students remain anxious

As the new MBBS session starts in a few months, aspiring medical students from Telangana remain anxious about their chances of securing a medical seat in the state’s government hospitals.

Telangana is yet to formulate a plan to address the approximately 302 undergraduate and postgraduate seats in government medical colleges established before 2014, while Andhra Pradesh decided to stop allocating seats to students from the neighbouring state.

The Telangana Health Department has not decided whether to reserve medical seats exclusively for local students, a practice already implemented in many states, including Andhra Pradesh.

Five medical colleges — Osmania Medical College, Gandhi Medical College, Kakatiya Medical College, RIMS Adilabad, and Government Medical College Nizamabad — that were established before 2014 provide 149 MBBS seats and 153 postgraduate seats to students from Andhra Pradesh impacting around 302 government seats.

Demands reservation only for Telangana students

In a strike notice issued for various reasons, the Telangana Junior Doctors Association (T-JUDA) said on 24 June that the students from Andhra Pradesh should not be allowed to be admitted in the reserved seats.

“We urge adherence to fair admission practices for both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh students. AP students should not be allowed to join the 15 percent seats increased in medical colleges in Telangana after 2 June, 2014,” the notice said.

Several others also urged the Telangana government to uphold the reservation for only the students native to the state.

“TS Govt needs to wake up and act immediately. Due to Article 371-D and Section 95 of the AP Reorganisation Act, medical seats in existing government medical colleges, like Gandhi, Osmania, etc., were open to students from both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. After a decade, the AP Reorganisation Act ended on July 2, 2024, providing an opportunity for the Congress government here to reserve MBBS seats for Telangana students,” said Nayini Anurag Reddy, a BRS supporter, on X.

“Telangana medicos are likely to lose 500-800 medical seats and nearly 200 PG medical seats if the government continues to delay addressing this issue. We request the Telangana Government to wake up and act on this at the earliest. Kindly do not play with the mental health of medicos!” Reddy added.

The seat distribution

In the quota, “Competent Authority” refers to the Vice-Chancellor of the Kaloji Narayana Rao University of Health Sciences (KNRUHS) in Warangal.

This authority controls 85 percent of the total seats in the state’s medical colleges, with the remaining 15 percent falling under the All India Quota open for students from across the country.

Of the seats controlled by the Competent Authority, 85 percent are reserved for local students, while the remaining 15 percent were open for students from both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to compete.

Last year, while Telangana medical colleges that existed before 2014 (when the state was bifurcated) continued this practice, those established after that reserved all seats under the Competent Authority exclusively for local students.

Before the bifurcation, there were 20 medical colleges in the Telangana region.

Since 2014, 36 new medical colleges have been established in the state. The amendment applies to these new colleges, with the exception of two directly under the Union government: AIIMS, Bibinagar, and ESIC, Sanathnagar.

Due to last year’s decision, an additional 520 medical seats were available to local students. Also, eight new medical colleges will be inaugurated in Telangana this year.

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The issue of seat sharing

T-JUDA president Dr Ch Sai Sri Harsha told South First that the issue is the division of medical seats established before the bifurcation of the state.

“So basically, the issue is regarding the medical seats in old colleges. The explanation from the Andhra Pradesh side is that the old medical colleges like Osmania, Gandhi, Kakatiya, and others were established before the bifurcation in 2014. They argue that they contributed to these colleges through taxes and should be allowed to take the seats because of this contribution,” he said.

He added that when Telangana issued the GO barring Andhra Pradesh natives from taking admission to medical colleges in the state established after 2014, Andhra Pradesh barred admission for Telangana natives in all seats, including the ones established before bifurcation.

“But as a countermeasure, AP released a GO stating that Telangana students would not be eligible for seats in the old medical colleges established before 2014, even if the seats increased after 2014. This GO was released in 2023, just before the admission time. As a result, Telangana students lost almost 300 seats in these old medical colleges in AP,” said Harsha.

He added that 2023 GO was released because there was a significant increase in the number of new medical colleges and seats in Telangana.

According to Harsh, former health minister Harish Rao decided that Telangana students should benefit from the new medical colleges since there was no proper contribution from Andhra Pradesh people to these colleges established after 2014.

He said the rampant increase of medical seats in Telangana would have greatly benefited students from Andhra Pradesh, as there was no parallel increase in the number of medical colleges in the neighbouring state.

Harsha said when the issue was communicated to the then Vice-Chancellor he was of the opinion that just because Andhra Pradesh violated the Reorganisation Act, Telangana could not do so and that it would be settled by the next year.

“However, the prospectus for this year has not yet been released,” he said.

“We just want to remind them that they had told us they wouldn’t allocate seats to AP students in the old medical colleges (from the current academic year). Please stick to this commitment. This reminder is to ensure they implement this decision, as there has been an increase of almost 50% in the number of seats in almost all of the old medical colleges. This amounts to around 300 to 350 seats,” said Harsha.

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)