An expert committee looking into the modalities of the proposed single entrance test for admission to the MBBS course across India has recommended that there be no negative marking in the exam.

The committee, set up by the Medical Council of India (MCI), has recommended objective-type questions and a percentile score to determine merit in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) from next year. The recommendations have been submitted to the MCI and its Board of Governors will soon take a call after consulting the Union Health Ministry.

Sources say the suggestion of not having negative marking is rooted in concern over low scores by applicants, leading to vacant seats in the medical colleges. Such concerns have primarily been voiced by the north-eastern States, which fear that their students may not match up with others.

In this context, the MCI is working on the possibility of lowering the cut-off marks. At present, the proposed cut-off is 50 per cent for the general category students and 40 per cent for the reserved categories.

K.K. Talwar, chairman of the MCI Board of Governors, told PTI , “We do not want any seat to go vacant. We are working to ensure that all MBBS seats are filled up.”

“We are proposing to replace the old percentage system with percentiles to determine the merit list. We may further keep a clause for relaxing this cut-off percentile in such States where the MBBS seats are not filled.

Also, we have clarified the misconception that some States will lose their medical seats. Their seats will remain with them and different States will do their own counselling for the MBBS admission.”

The exam is proposed to have 180 questions, with 90 questions from biology and 45 each frrom physics and chemistry.

The Medical Council of India (MCI) will hold the proposed NEET in collaboration with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in February for admission to 40,335 MBBS seats in 330 medical colleges.

About 10 lakh candidates are likely to sit for the examination.

PTI