Several NEET PG aspirants gathered at a site near the Jantar Mantar on Sunday (May 8, 2022), urging the National Board of Examinations (NBE) and Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) to postpone the NEET PG exam, which is scheduled to take place on May 21, 2022.
The National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test Postgraduate (NEET PG) 2022 aspirants are requesting the postponement of the exam citing its clash with the ongoing counselling for NEET PG 2021. Several students complained that they had to choose between appearing for a counselling round and their INI-CET exam, scheduled on May 8. The Institute of National Importance Combined Entrance Test (INI-CET) is a national-level examination conducted by AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), Delhi. The INI-CET scores are accepted for admission to 10 AIIMS centres, such as the ones in Delhi, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Jodhpur, Patna, Nagpur, Raipur, Rishikesh, Bathinda, and Bibinagar. In addition, some institutes such as NIMHANS Bengaluru, JIPMER Puducherry, PGI Chandigarh, and SCTIMST Trivandrum also accept INI-CET scores, making this exam highly important for medical students.
Immediately after completing their National Importance Combined Entrance Test (INI-CET), which concluded at 2 pm Sunday, NEET PG aspirants gathered in the national capital to protest against the “shortcomings” of the NBE. Dr Uday Reddy, an aspirant from Hyderabad, said that owing to the lack of work and efforts of the NBE, students are having to face difficulties and are in a dilemma of making the right choice. “The NBE has become a failure and medical students are facing the consequences of its shortcomings,” he said.
Aspirants are also complaining that owing to their Covid duties, many of them were unable to complete their internships on time. Holding a ‘Save Covid Warriors’ placard in hand, Dr Pooja Singh, another aspirant and one of the main volunteers of this protest, urged the Government of India to intervene and help the members of the medical fraternity in progressing their professional lives.
“We did our parts and duties, and helped the government when Covid-19 pandemic was at its peak. It was our duty and we are happy we could do it, but now the government should do its part, too, and help us when we need its help. We deserve this and are not asking for something irrelevant. We only want the exam to be postponed by eight to 10 weeks so that we can study with a peaceful mind. The authorities cannot expect students to prepare and revise 19 subjects within such a short span and ace the exams,” she said.
Adding to this, Dr Kajal, another protestor, said, “The authorities postponed the exam during the peak time of Covid-19 because they needed us. However, now they refuse to postpone it because they feel this is not a valid reason.”
More than 15,000 students joined hands and wrote a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) seeking an appointment to share their concerns. “More than 20 MPs and several medical associations have written to the government in favour of us. They understand our plea, but there has been no response from the government or the NBE. Their silence is spreading more panic among the medical fraternity,” said Dr Kajal.
The aspirants also recalled their past experiences and claimed that there have been times when the exam has been postponed a couple of days before the exam, so the authorities should avoid such situations now. “That situation negatively affects our mental health. So, instead of postponing the exam two days before the exam day, why not announce the postponement right now? That way, we can relax and prepare for our exam without any haste or panic. This will help our mental health and also positively affect our professional life,” said Dr Vibhu Anand.
Recalling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “thali bajao” campaign to salute the frontline workers two years ago, the protestors also launched a similar campaign Sunday. The group has asked citizens to bang plates at 4 pm for four minutes till the demands of the medical students are met.
This protest comes a few hours after the NBE had to issue a clarification against a purported circular that was circulating online claiming the NEET PG exam had been postponed. “It has come to the notice of NBEMS (National Board of Examination in Medical Sciences) that some unscrupulous elements are circulating false and bogus information using spoofed notices in the name of NBEMS,” the official statement read.