PG counselling in limbo over 'domicile' issue

PG counselling in limbo over 'domicile' issue

Medical, dental seat-selection process yet to start even two weeks after results are declared.

Karnataka students aspiring for postgraduate medical seats are an anxious lot. The results of the Post Graduate Entrance Test (PGET) for medical and dental courses were announced more than a fortnight ago but the counselling has not yet begin.

The government cannot proceed with the admission process unless the Supreme Court gives directions. For the court is yet to adjudicate a petition on students’ domicile status. The next hearing is scheduled for March 25.

Officials in the medical education department told Deccan Herald that they tried to expedite the matter by starting at least the registration of candidates for the counselling but the court’s direction to not proceed until the further orders had held them back.

Given the imbroglio, Karnataka students aspiring for PG medical and dental seats under the State government quota are facing the pressure. This year, the government extended the domicile period from five years to 10 years in order to give local students more opportunity to secure postgraduate seats.

The previous domicile period of five years meant that any non-Karnataka student who studied undergraduate medicine in the State will be eligible for the State’s share of PG seats. But the government’s decision to extend the domicile period has been challenged by some students in the Supreme Court. On the other hand, a group of students in the State is now planning to be made a party to the case, by urging the court to uphold the extension of domicile period to 10 years.

The competition for PG seats is cut-throat. This year, 7,580 students (from Karnataka and outside) appeared for the Karnataka PGET (medical), vying for the State government’s 515 seats, including those in private colleges. There are only 161 PG seats in government colleges.

In the recently declared PGET results, about 300 of the first 1,000 ranks were garnered by non-Karnataka students. To top it all, some seats have to be reserved exclusively for students from Hyderabad-Karnataka. Students from parts of the State other than the H-K region fear that their chances of getting seats among the remaining 700 had now become slimmer.

This apart, the government’s tussle with linguistic minority colleges and deemed universities for its share of seats in these institutions has only worsened the matter. Moreover, students usually prefer well-established colleges to newly established ones where not all specialisations would be available.

A student, Vikas (name changed), said: “Most of the students who join the undergraduate medical courses through COMEDK are from other states. These candidates study postgraduation in colleges here but go back to their home states for jobs. This is why Karnataka faces an acute shortage of doctors in rural areas and elsewhere. This is the reason why 10-year domicile is being insisted upon.”

Several candidates who quit jobs to write the entrance exam are now at a loss about their future.

They said the government officials did not guide them properly when they made representations to them. A section of students has now taken to Facebook and other social networking platforms to air its voices.

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