On Thursday, the union government announced the decision to provide reservation to students belonging to OBCs and Economically Weaker Section in the All India Quota available in medical and dental courses across the country. The decision grants 27% reservation to OBC students and 10% reservation to EWS students from across the country in various medical and dental colleges in all the states and UTs for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
Announcing the decision, prime minister Narendra Modi termed the decision a landmark decision, saying that it will come into effect form the current academic year.
“This will immensely help thousands of our youth every year get better opportunities and create a new paradigm of social justice in our country,” he said. Here is what the decision means for the students.
The reservation has been extended for the All India Quota in Medical and Dental colleges, which is available for students from any state. At present, 15% of the undergraduate seats and 50% of the postgraduate seats in those institutions are available under the All India Quota. This means, 27% reservation for OBC and 10% reservation for EWS students will be available in 15% seats in undergraduate and 50% seats in postgraduate courses.
The rest 85% and 50% seats in UG and PG courses respectively are set aside for the students of the respective states by the state governments.
The All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme was introduced in 1986 under the directions of Supreme Court to provide for domicile-free merit-based opportunities to students from any state to study in medical colleges in any other state. Initially, there was no reservation for the seats in the quota.
However, reservations for SCs and STs were added to this All India Quota in 2007, as the Supreme Court had ordered 15% reservation for SCs and 7.5% for STs in that year. Now the same has been extended to the OBCs and EWS.
While the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act had given 27% reservation to all central government institutions, the All India Quota in state medical colleges were kept out of it. The reservation was applied to central govt medical institutions like Safdarjung Hospital, Lady Harding Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University and Banaras Hindu University etc, but the reservation was applicable for the AIQ seats in Medical and Dental colleges under state governments. These seats were also kept out when the Modi govt introduced the 10% for the economically weaker sections among the upper castes in 2019.
With this decision, OBC and EWS students from any students will be able to compete for seats in medical and dental colleges in any state in the country under the reserved quota. The Other Backward Communities listed in the central list of OBCs will be eligible for this quota.
According to the government, this decision would benefit every year nearly 1500 OBC students and 550 EWS students in MBBS courses, and 2500 OBC students and around 1000 EWS students in postgraduation courses.
As the AIQ seats in undergraduate courses are only 15% of the total available seats, the actual seats under the All India Quota were not very much earlier. But in the recent few years, the number of medical seats in the country has increased significantly, as a large number of new medical colleges have been built.
The number of MBBS seats in the country has increased by 56% from 54,348 seats in 2014 to 84,649 seats in 2020, and the number of PG seats has increased by 80% from 30,191 seats in 2014 to 54,275 seats in 2020. This was achieved mainly by the construction of 179 new medical colleges in the six-year period after the Modi govt came to power in 2014.
The country now has 558 medical colleges, which includes 289 government colleges and 269 private colleges. As result, the AIQ seats have also gone up accordingly, providing the govt with the opportunity to extend reservation to OBCs and EWS in the AIQ seats in the state medical colleges.