HomenewsNEET tail-enders jump queue, grab med seats | India News

NEET tail-enders jump queue, grab med seats | India News


MUMBAI: MBBS aspirants who missed out in the initial rounds of seat allotment and pinned their hopes on vacant NRI quota seats have been bested by students at the tail end of the NEET qualifying list helped by NRI sponsors.
Overnight, close to 152 aspirants, many of them with ranks in six digits, have submitted documents, including a certificate from the consulate concerned, to prove that their education will be sponsored by an Indian based abroad. Aspirants with much higher scores, who were banking on the addition of vacant NRI seats to the relatively cheaper management quota — the fee differential can be as much as Rs 25 lakh-35 lakh — have been done in by a minor clause in the fineprint. A medical college in Maharashtra has, in fact, already allotted a seat to a NEET qualifier placed 267th from the bottom in a list stretching into several lakhs.
When registration for the all-India mop-up round began on March 10, several Indian candidates had applied to convert to NRI status. The medical counselling committee gave such students time from noon on March 11 to 6pm the next day to change their nationality from Indian to NRI. However, candidates wrote to the NMC asking for their nationality to be converted in the last leg of the admission process, presumably after all other options to secure a seat had been exhausted. “The NMC was forced to open that window. According to a 2017 Supreme Court judgment, a candidate can change his or her nationality at any point,” said Dr Pravin Shingare, former head of the Directorate of Medical Education and Research.
NRI seats, which cost Rs 40 lakh-60 lakh per year — 4-5 times more than those in the management quota — and had no takers until last week, were now suddenly in demand and filled by candidates with rock-bottom scores. At Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences, Loni (Maharashtra), the last management seat was filled by rank 83,817 while the last NRI seat went to rank 8,72,911. At Sri Devaraj Urs Medical College, Kolar, the last management seat was allotted to rank 86,416 and its last NRI seat to rank 8,76,357.
This scenario has played out in medical institutes across the country. Rank holder 71,474 had named MGM College as his first choice in the mop-up round. He didn’t get a seat, but a candidate more than 8 lakh ranks below at 8,73,286 has got lucky, thanks to the clause which allows a student to abruptly change his/her nationality in the midst of the admission process. Hence, of the 19 vacant NRI seats at MGM that should have been converted to the general category, according to the NMC notification, not a single one eventually remained vacant.
The order by the NMC’s medical counselling committee to tighten the screws on the controversial NRI quota — which is known to even be auctioned at times for large sums of cash — came on January 10. It had said unfilled seats reserved for NRIs, Muslims, Jains would revert to general category “Indian nationals” during the mop-up round. However, the sudden surge in candidates presenting NRI sponsors has upended the order. A section of them, in fact, are suspected to be dummy candidates put up by respective college managements in order to block their seats from being allocated at less fees. While annual MBBS fees across private colleges on an average range from Rs 14 lakh (Hamdard HIMSR, New Delhi) to Rs 26 lakh (DY Patil University, Navi Mumbai), for the NRI quota the difference can be as much as Rs 25-35 lakh per seat. With institutional quota admissions beginning on April 1, such colleges can still revise the final NRI list of admitted candidates after students from various categories are accounted for.
“College agents have candidates on standby to beat the system. Those with low scores but high paying power could get seats,” rued parents’ representative Sudha Shenoy. “These students with low scores are assured seats before admission begins. The college tells them they would get a management quota seat for a hefty package, including fees (cheque) and donation (cash). But as the admission rounds progress and NRI seats remain vacant, these candidates are asked to convert their nationality,” explained Shenoy. “One wonders why otherwise these candidates did not convert their nationality at the beginning of admission.”





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MD Abdullah
MD Abdullah
Abdullah is a former educator, lifelong money nerd, and a Plutus Award-winning freelance writer who specializes in the scientific research behind irrational money behaviors. Her background in education allows her to make complex financial topics relatable and easily understood by the layperson. She is the author of four books, including End Financial Stress Now and The Five Years Before You Retire.
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