Even as the Supreme Court order on the Common Medical Entrance Test raised hopes of a uniform test from this year itself, the health ministry has indicated this may not be “practically” possible given the short notice.
The ministry has asked for suggestions from the Medical Council of India on whether there is any scope of conducting the examination this year, though officials conceded this might be a long shot.
“The notification for the common test has to be out by December. It may be too late to start the process now,” an official said. He added that a couple of exams have already been held and in many colleges the last dates have passed.
In a cautious approach to streamline medical education, the ministry will also push for amendments in the MCI Act. “We will try to bring in changes to the Act so that it provides a strong ground,” a senior official in the health ministry said.
Health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda has already approved the MCI’s recommendation for an amendment to the Indian Medical Council (IMC) Act that will empower it to hold a nationwide common medical entrance test.
The amendment has also been cleared by the law ministry. The health ministry is now waiting for comments from a few other related ministries including the HRD ministry.
The official said the ministry will now try to expedite the process and place the changes in Parliament so as to avoid a roadblock when the SC revisits the case. On Monday, the apex court recalled its earlier order scrapping NEET for admissions to MBBS, BDS and PG courses.
Acting on suggestions made by HRD minister Smriti Irani last week, the University Grants Commission (UGC) on Tuesday decided to relax criteria for women and disabled candidates pursuing MPhil and PhD degrees.
Women and those with more than 40% disability will now get a year extra to complete their MPhil papers and two years more to submit PhD theses. All women candidates will also be provided maternity leave and child care leave for up to 240 days once while they pursue these two degrees.
In case a woman scholar needs to relocate because of marriage or otherwise during her study, she would be allowed to get research data transferred to the university to which she intends to shift provided all other regulatory conditions are followed and the research work does not pertain to a project secured by the parent institution or her supervisor from any funding agency. The scholar will also have to give credit to her parent guide and institution for the part of research already done.
In another important decision, the full commission of UGC also decided that award of degrees to those registered for MPhil/PhD programmes prior to July 11, 2009 will be governed by the provisions of the then existing ordinances/bylaws/regulations and will be exempted from the requirement of the minimum eligibility condition of NET/state-level eligibility test for recruitment and appointment of assistant professor or equivalent posts in universities/colleges and other higher educational institutions subject to few conditions.
The riders include award of PhD in regular mode only; PhD thesis should have been examined by at least two external examiners; open PhD viva voce of candidate should have been co- nducted, candidate should have published two research publications from his/her PhD work out of which at least one must have appeared in a refereed journal and candidate should have made at least two presentations in conferences/seminars based on his/her PhD work.
Also, a college accredited with highest grades in two running cycles and also secures the highest accreditation grade in the third from NAAC will get autonomous status provided it obtains an NOC from the affiliating varsity and adheres to certain UGC norms.