MBBS aspirants will have to write a common entrance test for admission to medical colleges across the country from the next academic session (2011-2012).

At a press conference here on Tuesday, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Medical Council of India (MCI) S.K. Sarin said the proposal was approved by the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister and a notification to this effect would be shortly issued.

The move will benefit approximately four lakh students who compete for 35,000 undergraduate seats in medicine every year.

At present there are 17 entrance tests for admission to medical colleges. They are conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education, the State governments and even some private medical colleges.

“The modalities of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test are being worked out by a working group,” Dr. Sarin said. The test would be held according to a set of standards that would be soon announced.

He said the MCI was in touch with the Ministry of Human Resource Development as it had also mooted a proposal to have a common entrance test for medical and engineering courses. Issues such as which agency would hold the test and the number of centres were being worked out.

The entrance examination would cover all medical colleges except the Armed Forces Medical College and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi and the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh.

The AIIMS and PGI Chandigarh were established under Acts of Parliament and, hence not covered by the Indian Medical Council Act.

Quotas to continue

Dr. Sarin pointed out that health was in the concurrent list and the concerns of the State governments, as also that of the minority and private institutions were addressed.

The minority institutions would continue to have a quota and a private college could have a management quota. But the reserved seats would have to be filled on the basis of merit.

The physically challenged would also continue to have their seats reserved, but the selection would be based on merit from the common list.

There was also a proposal to conduct a common entrance test for post-graduate courses by the next academic session. The modalities in this regard were being worked out.