NEET PG 2021: State, district cancel leave for exam citing COVID-19

NEET PG 2021 hall ticket has been issued by the NBE but Jharkhand and Surajpur in Chhattisgarh have denied leave to MBBS graduates citing COVID-19.

NEET PG 2021: State, district cancel leave for exam citing COVID-19 National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Postgraduate (NEET-PG 2021) is scheduled for April 18 ( Representational Photo)
Pritha Roy Choudhury | Apr 14, 2021 - 12:12 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: At least two sets of doctors have had their leave cancelled and been stopped from writing the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Postgraduate (NEET-PG 2021) scheduled for April 18. In both cases, the administration -- Surajpur district in Chhattisgarh and the Government of Jharkhand -- has cited the rising number of cases in the second wave of COVID-19 as a reason for holding on MBBS graduates serving in the areas.

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The district head or the civil surgeon of Surajpur district in Chattisgarh issued an order which stops all doctors from taking leave. The notification says: “The medical officers who are serving the bond period or serving the probation period will not be given leave to appear in the examination [NEET PG 2021]. If after appearing in the examination they are selected for the PG program, they will not be relieved from their duties.” This was done to address the rising number of COVID cases in the state.

Jharkhand passed a similar order on April 13 cancelling the leave of all doctors and junior residents of all medical colleges and district hospitals. The notification from the health and medical education, Government of Jharkhand, says: “No doctors including other front line workers, barring those on maternity leave, in the state can go on leave, with immediate effect till July 31.”

Students who toiled through the year to appear in the entrance exam for postgraduate medical courses are complaining that stopping them from writing the NEET PG exam will cause major obstacles and delays in their careers. The exam conducting body, the National Board of Education issued the NEET PG 2021 hall ticket from the evening of April 13.

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“This is unexpected from those in power and in responsible posts issue such orders which not only demoralize the services but also somewhere puts a full stop to their career growth”, said Shakul Dwivedi, an aspirant from Madhya Pradesh which has postponed all board exams.

“We cannot deprive those who fought through the uncertain period, saving life and sacrificing their time,” said Neel Kamal, an aspirant from Vardhman Institute of Medical Sciences in Nalanda Bihar.

“You cannot stop someone from appearing from the examination. We strongly criticize such moves. Also, doctors are under immense pressure. They are sacrificing because of the situation. It becomes very difficult for them to come back and study after they are through with their duty. The competition is very tough” said Dr Dwivedi adding, “There should be some mechanism where these doctors can be accommodated. There should be some additional reservation for COVID workers, who worked as front line workers.”

The students say that the health system will suffer as it needs more specialists. “We don't know what the COVID scenario will be in the next few months or next year, the country needs specialist doctors,” added Neel Kamal.

“There should be some alternative mechanisms where the healthcare system does not crash due to the absence of these medical officers and these medical officers are allowed to appear in the examination. This is a very genuine demand which should be addressed at some point, either it is taken up by the National Medical Commission or the National Board of Examination (NBE) or some state government should intervene”, added Dwivedi.

However, Dr Iqbal Hussain, associated with the Federation of All India Medical Education said that the situation in Chattisgarh is alarming with 50 percent of samples testing positive which is much higher than that of Maharashtra. “No doubt the move is very demotivating for the aspirants, the authorities, I feel are helpless. Chhattisgarh has the maximum sample positive rate in the country. Many districts in the state have 50 percent sample positive cases in India,” he said.

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