MBBS admissions to all the AIIMS and other institutes of national importance will continue to be through NEET with the proposal for a separate entrance test for such institutes being rejected at the recently held governing body meeting of the AIIMS.
The governing body of AIIMS headed by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya took the decision on December 6.
It rejected the proposal of a separate entrance examination at the undergraduate level, as distinct from NEET, for all the AIIMS and institutes of National Importance after deliberation.
"After deliberations, it was felt that the current practice of a combined entrance examination for all medical colleges is continued," the minutes of the meeting read.
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences was established as an Institution of National Importance (INI) by an Act of Parliament in 1956.
Beginning with the establishment of AIIMS, the objective of Institutes of National Importance (INI) in the field of medicine is to develop patterns of teaching in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education in all its branches to demonstrate a high standard of medical education to all medical colleges and other allied institutions in India (AIIMS Act 1956).
Subsequently, more institutions -- PGIMER- Chandigarh, JIPMER, Puducherry (2008) and 21 newly established AIIMS for undergraduate and postgraduate education -- were added.
The INIs have the mandate to continuously innovate, establish and standardise newer methods of education at all levels ie undergraduate, postgraduate and super specialty, so that these can then be implemented in all the medical colleges under Central, State, Deemed and State Private Universities, an official said.
Accordingly, section 37 of the National Medical Commission Act, 2019 specifically provides a distinct recognition of the medical degree of the INI (Schedule under 37) in relation to all other medical colleges in India under its purview.
In order to recruit the highest caliber students for its medical undergraduate degree (MBBS), AIIMS New Delhi used to conduct an All-India entrance exam for admission of students to the MBBS program of all AIIMS.
"This exam was conducted till 2019. With the promulgation of the NMC Act in 2019, admissions to the MBBS seats at all AIIMS were merged with the NEET- UG exam conducted by the National Testing Agency and the AIIMS MBBS entrance exam was stopped. As a consequence, since 2020, admissions to MBBS seats at all AIIMS are being done through the NEET-UG exam," an official explained.
For all colleges in the country, admissions are done for the three levels of medical education through entrance exams.
As of date, admissions to PG (MD/MS) and super specialty (DM/MCh)are done through two separate exams each. For all INIs, these tests are called the INICET-PG (postgraduate) and INICET-SS(super-specialty) exams, conducted by AIIMS New Delhi.
The corresponding exams for all other medical institutions are done through the NEET-PG and NEET-SS exams However, for the MBBS seats, the separate exam for AIIMS and other INIs has been abolished and a single exam (NEET-UG is being held).
"In pursuance of highest standards and maintain the spirit of innovation, the admission into postgraduate (INICET-PG) and super-specialty (INICET-SS) medical courses is now done through a Combined Entrance Test (CFT) administered by AIIMS, New Delhi.
"It is in this context, it is proposed that admission into undergraduate courses in the INIs should be done through a Combined Entrance Test (INICET-UG)," a note submitted to the governing body stated.
"It was suggested that the MBBS entrance exam for AIIMS may be separated from the NEET-UG exam and reverted to the situation that existed till 2019. Similar to the pattern prior to 2020, admission to MBBS seats at all AIIMS may be done through a separate entrance exam. This exam could include MBBS seats of all INIs and be called the INICET-UG entrance exam," the official stated.
According to the note, the rationale for the re-establishment of INICET-UG was that the three levels of medical education (ie. undergraduate, MBBS, post-graduate, MD/MS) and Super specialty, SS) are implicitly and critically interlinked.
To ensure a seamless transition, it is imperative that the entrance test to all three levels has a similar approach and standards as envisaged by the Parliament.
Besides, the NEET-UG exam caters to over 80,000 MBBS seats and has a large number of stakeholders including students and colleges. The mammoth organisation task requires extensive logistics and consequent delays.
Further, due to multiple stakeholders (including Central, State, Deemed and Private Universities), the conduct of NEET examination and process of counselling is often delayed due to litigations at various courts.
A separate combined entrance test for undergraduate seats in INIs will shield them from events that affect the conduct of NEET, the note stated.