Hyderabad: The ministry of health and family welfare on Thursday announced 27 per cent reservation for OBCs and 10 per cent for economically weaker section (EWS) in the All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme for undergraduate and postgraduate medical/dental courses (MBBS/MD/MS/Diploma/BDS/MDS) from the academic year 2021-22.

The decision will benefit nearly 1,500 OBC students in MBBS and 2,500 OBC postgraduate students while around 550 EWS students in MBBS and around 1,000 EWS postgraduates will also benefit from the reservation.

The All India Quota (AIQ) Scheme was introduced in 1986 under the directions of the Supreme Court to provide for domicile-free merit based opportunities to students from any state who aspire to study in a good medical college located in another state.

All India Quota consists of 15 per cent of the total available UG seats and 50% of total available PG seats in government medical colleges. Initially, there was no reservation in the AIQ Scheme up to 2007. In 2007, the Supreme Court introduced a reservation of 15% for SCs and 7.5% for STs in the AIQ Scheme. When the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act became effective in 2007 providing for uniform 27% reservation to OBCs, the same was implemented in all the Central educational institutions, including Safdarjung Hospital, Lady Harding Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University, and Banaras Hindu University. However, the scheme was not extended to state medical and dental colleges.

In order to provide benefits to students belonging to the EWS category, a Constitutional amendment was made in 2019 which provided 10 per cent reservation for EWS students. Accordingly, seats in medical/dental colleges were increased during 2019-20 and 2020-21 to accommodate this additional reservation so that the total number of seats available for the unreserved category is not reduced. In the AIQ seats, however, this benefit had not been extended so far.

Therefore, along with the 27 per cent reservation for OBCs, 10 per cef for EWS is also being extended in AIQ seats for all the undergraduate/postgraduate medical/dental courses from the academic year 2021-22.

This decision is also in sync with the significant reforms carried out in the field of medical education since 2014. During the last six years, MBBS seats in the country have increased by 56% from 54,348 in 2014 to 84,649 seats in 2020 and the number of PG seats have increased by 80% from 30,191 in 2014 to 54,275 in 2020. During the same period, 179 new medical colleges have been established and now the country has 558 (289 government and 269 private) medical colleges.

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