In the all-India quota (AIQ) scheme for undergraduate and postgraduate medical and dental courses from 2021-22, the Union Health Ministry has announced a 27 percent reservation for OBCs (Other Backward Classes) and a 10% quota for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
All-India quota Scheme (AIQ)
The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is a national entrance exam for undergraduate (NEET-UG) and postgraduate (NEET-PG) medical and dental programs. The Supreme Court directed the introduction of the All-India Quota (AIQ) Scheme in 1986 to provide domicile-free merit-based opportunities to students from any State who aspire to study in a good medical college in another State. For example, a student from Uttar Pradesh may be eligible for admission to a state government medical college in West Bengal if she achieves a high enough ranking on the national merit list. If her AIQ score isn’t high enough, she might be able to get into her home state through the state quota. AIQ comprises 15% of all available UG seats and 50% of all available PG seats in state medical and dental colleges.
The Reservation Policy & Current changes
Until 2007, there was no medical admissions reservation in the All-India Quota. In Abhay Nath v University of Delhi and Others, the Supreme Court ordered that a 15% reservation for Scheduled Castes and a 7.5 percent reservation for Scheduled Tribes be included in the AIQ. The government passed the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2007, in the same year, granting OBC students 27 percent reservation in central government institutions such as AMU, BHU, and others, but not in all India quota seats of state medical and dental colleges. The 10% EWS quota established by the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019, has also been implemented in central educational institutions, but not in state educational institutions, according to the NEET AIQ. A Constitutional amendment was made in 2019 to provide benefits to students belonging to the EWS category in admission to higher educational institutions, allowing for a 10% reservation for EWS students. As a result, seats at medical and dental colleges were raised over two years, in 2019-20 and 2020-21, to accommodate this additional 10% EWS reservation while keeping the overall number of seats available for the unreserved category unchanged. However, this benefit has not been extended to the AIQ seats.
The Move’s Importance
The government’s commitment to providing adequate reservations for backward and EWS students is shown in the aforesaid decision. Nearly 1,500 OBC students in MBBS and 2,500 OBC students in postgraduate courses will benefit from this, as well as 550 EWS students in MBBS and 1,000 EWS students in postgraduate courses. Thousands of our youngsters will benefit from this every year, and it will usher in a new era of social fairness in our country.