In a major development, the union health ministry while approving a CBSE recommendation for ‘no upper age limit’ in National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for MBBS/BDS admissions in academic year 2017, has left the final decision to be taken by Medical Council of India/Dental Council of India (MCl/DCI). Further, the ministry has also approved unlimited attempts to take the test for both 15% all India Quota as well as 85% state quota in all government, private, central and deemed medical colleges and universities across the country. Here again, the final decision has to be taken by MCI/DCI.
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In a letter written to CBSE Joint Secretary, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) conveyed an approval on the information bulletin of NEET UG 2017. “As on date, the minimum age of 17 years as on December 31, 2017 with no upper age limit and no limit on attempts has been approved. Applicable on All India Quota seats also,” stated the letter written by Amit Biswas, Under Secretary to the Government of India.
The letter, however, also mentions that the age limit and number of attempts will be as “prescribed by MCl/DCI”.
Scrapping age limit and number of attempts
Earlier, the upper age limit for candidates seeking admission under 15% All India Quota seats was 25 years as on December 31 of the admission year. Further, the upper limit was relaxed by a period of 5 years for the candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Categories. However, the upper age limit for 85% state quota seats varied for respective states. For Example, in Bihar, there was no upper age limit to appear in medical entrance examination. However, in Uttarakhand, the upper age limit for general category students was 25 years and a relaxation of 5 years was given to SC/ST candidates.
Foreign nationals to participate in all India quota seats
The letter also conveyed an approval for foreign nationals as well as Overseas citizens of India (OCI), Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) and Non-Resident Indians (NRI) candidates to participate in 15% all India quota counselling. Earlier, the 15% all India Quota seats were reserved for Indian nationals only. However, with this coming notice, now NRI/OCI/PIO and foreign nationals are now allowed to participate in the 15% all India Quota (AIQ) seats as well. “Foreign/OCI/PIO/NRI students may be allowed to appear in NEET. They may also be allowed to participate in 15% all India Quota counselling with the applicable terms and conditions (fee, bond, service rule etc),” reads the notification.
The letter also approved the existing cut off at 50 and 40 percentile for open and reserved categories as prescribed under NEET regulations need not be interfered.
CBSE is expected to announce NEET anytime now. Last year the all India entrance exam for admission to MBBS/BDS was announced on December 1, 2015. The NEET application had opened for the test on December 15, 2015.
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