Medical aspirants in Jharkhand is likely to find themselves trapped in a continuing faceoff between the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the state health department over a seemingly never ending controversy involving the total number of seats.
As a result, the students next year may have to appear in a medical entrance exam conducted by the state and not the central board.
Earlier this year, the MCI issued a directive to Jharkhand government to reduce the number of medical seats to 190 from 350. However, arguing that there were massive infrastructure lacunae in the medical colleges PMCH (Dhanbad), MCM (Jamshedpur), and RIMS (Ranchi), freshly admitted students lodged a strong protest against these colleges and even appealed in the High Court.
The High Court ordered the colleges to sort out the lacunae mentioned by the MCI in its report within 10 months. However, seeing the issue had become highly controversial, MCI decided to keep a safe distance – but without giving into the demands for 350 seats by the state.
“(For 2015) we think 190 is the suitable number of students that the three state-run colleges can accommodate, not 350. We have not agreed on 350. In 2014, the state government managed the entry of students that cleared the All India Pre-Medical Test due to the high court’s decision. Even the court order did not say the seats were increased. The state government gave an undertaking to the court that it would improve resources and infrastructure of medical institutes in 10 months,” said an MCI official.
The state health department has other ideas though. Joint secretary of state health department B.K. Mishra said in a statement to The Telegraph that the state was going to conduct next year’s medical entrance examination for 350 seats.
When asked about MCI’s directive, Mishra said: “Let us not assume or discuss the worst. The MCI’s main objection was faculty crunch and vacancies related to senior residents. We are trying our best to plug in those gaps. Reduction of seats was conditional. If we improve the institutes according to MCI guidelines, it will have no basis to object,” he added.