Quota for OBC & EWS reservation in medical education

  • IASbaba
  • August 13, 2021
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RSTV 30 July, 2021: The Big Picture: Quota for OBC & EWS reservation in medical education 



  • GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources 
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Quota for OBC & EWS reservation in medical education

The Union Health Ministry has announced 27% reservation for the OBCs (Other Backward Classes) and 10% quota for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in the all-India quota (AIQ) scheme for undergraduate and postgraduate medical and dental courses from 2021-22.

What is NEET?

  • The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is the entrance examination for entry to all undergraduate (NEET-UG) and postgraduate (NEET-PG) medical and dental courses in the country.

What is the All-India Quota Scheme (AIQ)

  • The All-India Quota (AIQ) Scheme was introduced in 1986 under the directions of the Supreme Court to provide for domicile-free merit-based opportunities to students from any State to aspire to study in a good medical college located in another State.
  • A student domiciled in Uttar Pradesh, for example, may be eligible for admission to a seat in a state government medical college in West Bengal, provided she scores high enough in the national merit list. If her score is not high enough for AIQ, she may still hope for admission under the state quota in her home state.
  • AIQ consists of 15 per cent of total available UG seats and 50 per cent of total available PG seats in State medical and dental colleges.

Significance of the move:

  • The above decision is the reflection of the Government’s commitment to provide due reservation for backward and EWS category students.
  • This would benefit nearly 1,500 OBC students in MBBS and 2,500 OBC students in postgraduate courses, and also around 550 EWS students in MBBS and around 1,000 EWS students in postgraduation.
  • This will immensely help thousands of our youth every year get better opportunities and create a new paradigm of social justice in our country.

The Reservation Policy followed so far and the change now 

  • Until 2007, no reservation was implemented within the All-India Quota for medical admission. 
  • On January 31, 2007, in Abhay Nath v University of Delhi and Others, the Supreme Court directed that reservation of 15% for Scheduled Castes and 7.5% for Scheduled Tribes be introduced in the AIQ.
  • The same year, the government passed the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2007 providing for 27% reservation to OBC students in central government institutions such as AMU, BHU, etc. but it wasn’t extended to all India quota seats of state medical and dental colleges.
  • The 10% EWS quota under the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019, too, has been implemented in central educational Institutions, but not in the NEET AIQ for state institutions.
  • In order to provide benefit to students belonging to EWS category in admission to higher educational Institutions, a Constitutional amendment was made in 2019 which enabled the provision of 10% reservation for EWS category. 
  • Accordingly, seats in medical / dental colleges were increased over two years in 2019-20 and 2020-21 to accommodate this additional 10% EWS reservation so that the total number of seats available for unreserved category do not reduce. In the AIQ seats, however, this benefit had not been extended so far.

The Government initiatives in improving the health system of India:

  • This particular pandemic has taught us many issues with the health system of our country. It has highlighted that good infrastructure is as important as the good institution so that we do have a trained manpower when we are talking of the health sector. 
  • The Steps taken by the government to ensure good infrastructure and quality medical education is imparted to the talent includes:
  • Entry should be standardized: Government introduced NEET (single standardized exam) to deal with this problem. This will ensure entry of quality medical students.
  • Second step that the government is proposing is that the national medical commission to start with NEXT exam that is the exit exam. This is most likely to start from 2023 that will ensure that every student should pass common exit exam before getting the license. This will ensure good quality of talent passing out of college.

Can you answer this question now?

  • Discuss the reforms in medical education. Also illustrate the government’s efforts in improving the health system of India.

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