New Delhi: For once, the medical students are smiling for having beaten the government in its own game. Eliciting a commitment from the government to hike seats if it introduces reservations, the protesting doctors feel, is a minor victory.
“It will take 10 years for the government to increase the required 54 per cent seats maintaining the current level of infrastructure. None of the top medical institutions have the infrastructure or the faculty to handle the seat increase,” said Dr Murli Abhishek, a post graduate student of Delhi’s Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC).
Medical students have been the worst affected with the current quota plans as the number of seats is very few in the top medical institutes of the country. It is further reduced at the post graduation level.
“The fight for seats is tougher in medical as compared to IITs and IIMs. In engineering, there are 5000 seats in the centres for excellence like IIT. While in medicine, it’s just about 2000,” said Dr Aniruddh of University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi.
Unlike the IITs and IIMs, in medicine MBBS is just the first stop. A post-graduate degree is a necessity to make any headway in the profession.
According to Dr Vinay Aggarwal, secretary general, Indian Medical Association (IMA), reservation in medical seats is different from reservation in engineering or business schools. “In AIIMS there are two seats for cardio surgery and one for cancer radiology. How would you reserve them?” Aggarwal said.
Medical institutions of ‘IIT quality’ are only a handful. Institutions in Andhra, J&K and NE are not open for outsiders. States have reservation for their own students and leave only 15% open. Out of this 15 per cent, SC/ST get their share, making the competition for remaining seats tougher.
“There are very limited seats in post graduation. A simple MBBS gets you nowhere and to have reservation in post graduation is like quota on top of quota,” said Dr Anshul Gupta, President, Resident Doctors’ Association, Gangaram Hospital.
For instance, in Delhi’s medical colleges, there are 410 seats for MBBS but at the PG level they get reduced to 150 for clinical degrees.
In streams like surgery and gynaecology, the seats are as few as nine and if OBC reservation comes into place, they will further get reduced to six. In radio-diagnosis there are just three seats and in radiotherapy just one.
Also in PG, there are courses like radiology, neurology, endocrinology, cardiology, oncology and a host of others which have only one or two seats per year. This means that seats are allotted on a rotation basis wherein a general category student will get a chance once every three years.
If quotas come in, then a general student will get a chance after more than four-five years.“After spending almost five years and having used the same hostel, same books, same faculty, same campus and same infrastructure, why do you still need reservation? At the PG level it should be on competence,” said Dr Abhishek.
(with inputs from Ginnie Mahajan)