If all plans fall in place, the Jharkhand Combined Entrance Competitive Examination Board (JCECEB) may once again start conducting entrance tests to fill up MBBS seats in the state’s medical colleges from next year.
The health, medical education and family welfare department is planning to hand over the job to JCECEB, which only conducted counselling sessions in 2013 and 2014 while the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) selected the candidates through All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT), because this year’s final list of MBBS students did not have adequate representation from the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category.
The JCECEB used to hold the medical entrance tests prior to 2013.
“Yes, we are planning to hand over the entrance examination process to JCECEB. But for that, we will need our health minister’s consent before taking the final call,” the health department’s joint secretary B.K. Mishra confirmed to The Telegraph.
Explaining the reasons behind the proposed move, Mishra said the counselling for medical seats conducted by JCECEB on July 8 revealed that under ST category, only 23 candidates had qualified through AIPMT.
“It is a matter of concern for us. If Scheduled Tribe students do not qualify in the medical entrance examination, how will the reserved seats in medical colleges here get filled? he asked.
At present, the three medical colleges of Jharkhand have a total number of 288 seats for MBBS students sent in by the JCECEB.
While Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi, has 122 seats with 32 reserved for ST candidates; Mahatma Gandhi Medical (MGM) College in Dimna, Jamshedpur; and Dhanbad’s Patliputra Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) have 83 seats each.
Both MGM and PMCH have 22 reserved ST seats each.
This means that the state has as many as 76 seats set aside for MBBS aspirants hailing from the Scheduled Tribe community, but will be able to fill only 23 this year.
Sources in JCECEB said the health department chose to hand over the process of conducting the medical entrance tests to AIPMT after allegations were made that the state board was indulging in unfair practices during selection of students.
Admitting that the department thought that enrolment of students would be more transparent and fair if the CBSE conducted the exam and send a list of selected candidates to JCECEB for counselling, Mishra said, “We had thought that the entire process would ensure fairness. But last year too, half the Scheduled Tribe seats in Jharkhand medical colleges went vacant. This year too, around 53 MBBS seats will be unoccupied.”
He added that he would speak to the CBSE top brass to find “a way out”.
“I will speak to them and try to sort out the issue, at least for this year.”
Asked whether the department’s concern was to merely fill up the vacant seats or to fill it up with “eligible” candidates?
Mishra said, “Right now, I will not comment on this. I would rather concentrate on how to sort out the issue.”