Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has expressed surprise and distress over the Centre’s “unilateral” decision to conduct a National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test for Postgraduate courses in medical colleges for 2012 as it would come in the way of implementing the State’s reservation policy.
In a letter written to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on September 30 and released to the media on Monday, Ms. Jayalalithaa said the State took strong objection to the Centre’s move as it would put rural students from poor socio-economic background at a disadvantage due to lack of geographical and financial access to requisite training institutions and material. While reiterating that Tamil Nadu should be exempted from the test and allowed to continue with the existing system for admission to UG/PG medical seats, she said the unilateral decision was taken without taking into account the State’s protest and in spite of the stay obtained against the eligibility/entrance test in the Madras High Court. Besides, the Chief Minister said, the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare had assured the States that they would be consulted and their views considered before any policy decision was evolved.
The Tamil Nadu government had given its views specifically stating that the entrance test would interfere with the rights of the State in administering its reservation policy. Even after repeated requests, it was now clear that the Centre had not considered their case and had gone ahead with the decision to implement it, Ms. Jayalalithaa noted. She said Tamil Nadu had reserved 50 per cent of its medical postgraduate seats for doctors who had completed three years of rural service, with special weightage for those working in hilly and tribal areas. To meet the need for specialist medical manpower, the State obtained and enforced bonds from those completing postgraduate education in government medical colleges.
“It will be legally difficult to implement these policy initiatives if a common entrance test is introduced as we have to fall in line with the regulations of the National Test, which may not have such enabling provisions,” she said.