When Bumpula Aravind Sai, currently an intern at Osmania Medical College, started his MBBS course in 2017, he had his eyes set on 2023 to attempt the NEET PG entrance exam.
But, unfortunately, he is not eligible for this year’s The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for post-graduate students.
Across the state and the country too, thousands of MBBS and BDS interns are not eligible for the NEET PG entrance exam this year as the cut-off date for the completion of their internship has been set for 30 June.
The interns in Telangana as worse off as they will finish their internship only by mid-August. Around 4,000 MBBS and BDS students are from Kaloji Narayana Rao University of Health Sciences (KNRUHS) alone.
The NEET PG exam is scheduled on 5 March. And a one-year internship is mandatory to sit for it.
Previously, the deadline was 31 March and it was later extended. The last date for applying for the examination was on 27 January.
“We have lost one year because of our ineligibility to sit for the NEET PG exam,” rued Aravind Sai to South First.
Delays upon delays
Generally, the final examination for fourth-year MBBS students happens in January and February.
“But due to the pandemic, our exams were delayed. First, it was the third-year exam and then the fourth-year exam also got delayed. The final exam was conducted till 17 June, 2022,” said Aravind Sai.
Even after the exam, the students had to face another hurdle.
“After our final-year exam, we were waiting for our results. However, our result were delayed by around two months. Our results came on 9 August and we were able to start our internship only by 12 August,” Murali Krishna, another intern at Osmania, told South First.
“Everywhere in the country there was an issue with the final-year exam due to the pandemic, but in other states, the universities managed to conduct their exams by February 2022. Also, in states where the final exam was delayed, they were able to start their internships earlier,” explained Dr Kaushik Kumar Pinjarala, President of the Telangana Junior Doctor Association (JUDA).
“But in Telangana, there was a delay in the declaration of results for final-year exams, which caused a delay in the start of the internship,” he added.
JUDA members even met Telangana Health Minister T Harish Rao to find a solution, but to no avail.
“We requested him to write to the Union Health Ministry to allow students to sit for the examination. Even earlier, we had written to the ministry for an extension of the cut-off date to 31 August so that students can be eligible to sit for the examination,” said Kaushik.
KNRUHS also sent a representation to the National Medical Council (NMC) regarding this issue.
“If we are not able to sit for the examination, we have to wait for a year to appear again. There are fewer seats available for post-graduate courses and the competition is quite intense. So if we have to appear next year, there will be more competition and more pressure on us,” Aravind lamented.
Health ministry’s stand
Meanwhile, representatives from the Federation of All India Medical Doctors’ Association (FAIMA) tried to meet Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandviya with their grievances regarding the NEET PG exams, but the meeting did not take place.
Dr Manish Jangra of FAIMA said that he waited for seven hours at Dr Mandviya’s office but no meeting took place.
— Dr Manish Jangra (@Dr_ManishJangra) February 2, 2023
Earlier, FAIMA had also given a representation for the postponement and extension of the eligibility criteria for interns.
Requesting Hon'ble Union Health Minister Shri @mansukhmandviya Ji to work on the basic issues beside opening new Medical colleges!
— FAIMA Doctors Association (@FAIMA_INDIA_) January 24, 2023
“I don’t find reason valid enough to not postpone the examination. We will constantly ask the government to postpone,” said national chairman of FAIMA Dr Rohan Krishnan.
FAIMA has planned a protest on 7 February seeking the postponement of the NEET PG exam and has also demanded the resignation of the Union health minister.
“There is a protest planned at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. We don’t want to indulge in something which damages patient care. We are in the process of getting it postponed through dialogue itself,” said Dr Krishnan.
Let's Join Our Peaceful Protest Against Dictatorship of Hon'ble Health Minister @mansukhmandviya Ji
— FAIMA Doctors Association (@FAIMA_INDIA_) February 3, 2023