NEET: SC suggests grace marks for MBBS graduates working on Covid front
The Supreme Court on Thursday suggested that grace marks be awarded in this year’s National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (PG) to those MBBS graduates who agree to participate in the country’s battle against Covid.
At an earlier hearing, the bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah had asked the Centre to consider enlisting the country’s 1.5 lakh medical PG aspirants in the Covid campaign.
The bench said the 2.5 lakh fresh nursing graduates too could be drafted into the effort.
Solicitor-general Tushar Mehta said that following the court’s earlier suggestion, the Union health ministry had written to all the states to persuade their fresh medical graduates to help with Covid management, and proposed that final-year MBBS students might be deployed in tele-consultation.
“The most important thing missing is that they (PG aspirants) need to be given additional marks in NEET. Money will not be an incentive; this will be,” the bench said.
Mehta replied: “This suggestion will be taken into account at the highest level.”
Justice Shah said: “This can’t be only on paper; you have to seek compliance from the states.”
The court was hearing the Centre’s appeal against a Delhi High Court contempt notice to its officials for failing to comply with orders to supply 700 tonnes of oxygen daily to Delhi to meet a severe shortage. On Wednesday, the apex court had stayed the contempt notice.
The bench, however, reaffirmed that the Centre must ensure a minimum supply of 700 tonnes oxygen to Delhi every day till next Monday.
Mehta protested: “If we have to supply 700 (tonnes) then I have to take someone else’s share. If there is an adverse consequence then we can’t be held responsible....”
The court said it would look into the matter but the government must supply 700 tonnes of oxygen to Delhi every day till Monday.
It said that apart from Delhi, the Centre needed to formulate a fresh plan to supply oxygen across the country, including rural areas.
The observation came after the Centre filed a fresh application challenging Karnataka High Court’s May 5 order to ensure a daily supply of 1,200 tonnes of oxygen to the southern state.
“Your formula needs a relook. When you prepared the formula not everybody who went to ICU needed oxygen. But now many home isolation patients need oxygen. Your formula does not take into account ambulances, Covid care facility, etc. The formula is a gross underestimate for Delhi,” Justice Chandrachud observed.
“There is a judicial order in Karnataka — we need to look at this (on a) pan-India basis. We need to do an oxygen audit and (see) what is the accountability when stocks are redistributed. We are not today in Stage 1 of the pandemic.”
He added: “We may enter Stage 3 and if we prepare today we may be able to handle it.... It is not (just) about allocating (oxygen) to the states but also (about) the logistics to see that it is distributed (among the) hospitals.”
The court asked the Centre to come out with a plan to tackle a possible third wave of the epidemic.
“The third surge in India, which is around the corner according to experts, will affect children,” the bench said.
“So when a child goes to a Covid hospital, a mother and father will go…. We need to plan for this in a scientific way.”
Justice Chandrachud suggested the Centre explore the Maharashtra model, saying the state had created a task force of 11-12 doctors who constantly communicated with the rural hospitals.