The central government on Friday asked the UT administration to make provisions for providing reservation to candidates belonging to other backward classes (OBC) category in undergraduate courses at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32.
So far, the UT administration was not allowing reservations for OBC category in admissions, citing that GMCH-32 is affiliated to Panjab University, which is not a central university. Hence, provisions under Central Educational Instructions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, which provides reservations to OBC candidates, are not applicable on it.
The UT administration, in 2008, had informed the central government that the proposal regarding implementation of reservation of 27% seats for OBC, in addition to the already implemented 15% reservation for scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) candidates, will not be applicable at GMCH-32, as it is not a central university.
However, on Friday, in a letter to the UT adviser, the Union ministry of home affairs stated, “GMCH is administered by UT Chandigarh, which comes directly under the administration of the Union government. Hence, GMCH Chandigarh comes under the Central Educational Instructions (CEI) Act. Hence, reservation of OBC, as per CEI Act, may be applied.”
Once implemented, OBC candidates will get reservations in all courses at GMCH-32, including bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery (MBBS), and bachelor of science (BSc) in Nursing, Optometry, Medical Laboratory Technology, Medical Technology(X-Ray) and Medical Technology(Anaesthesia and Operation Theatre Techniques).
When asked about implementation of the ministry’s order, UT health secretary Yashpal Garg said, “The directions will be placed before the UT administrator.”
Move to cut into general category’s share
The ministry’s decision will come as a setback for students of the general category, as GMCH-32 is the only college offering MBBS in Chandigarh.
Out of the total 150 MBBS seats at the college, 15% are for all-India quota or “central pool” and the remaining 85% (115 ) fall under “UT pool”, which are filled locally by the admission committee as per the criteria fixed by the UT administration.
The ministry’s order will apply to the 115 “UT pool” seats in MBBS and all seats in the UT-managed BSc courses, as Centre already provides reservation in the 15% “central pool”.
It is worth mentioning that of the 115 “UT pool” seats, only 92 are for general category candidates, while remaining are reserved for disabled, SC, ST and NRI candidates.
Hence, 27% reservation for OBC candidates will translate into 23 seats, leaving 69 for general category.
The UT administration had recently also removed all exemptions for wards of serving defence personnel and ex-servicemen in the eligibility criteria for MBBS admissions.
As per the new eligibility criteria for them, the candidates must be wards of serving defence personnel or ex-servicemen having permanent address in Chandigarh in their service record at the time of entry into defence services.
A case challenging this criteria is also pending before the Punjab and Haryana high court on the plea of defence personnel’s daughter.
‘Reservation on basis of caste should not be promoted’
Members of the medical fraternity termed the ministry’s decision as a setback for general category candidates, as they will lose a major seat share in courses.
“The decision will adversely impact the general category students. There should be no caste-based reservation in medical education, as we should not compromise on the quality of doctors. Instead, the wards of economically weaker sections should be promoted through reservation,” said Dr Arvind Goyal, an MBBS/MD doctor, who has been teaching medical students for the past 20 years.
No effect on PG courses
GMCH-32 also has 139 seats in doctor of medicine (MD) and master of surgery (MS) courses, and seven seats in doctorate of medicine (DM), but no reservation is being provided in post-graduate courses. Hence, OBC reservation will not be applicable here.