Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Assembly on Monday referred the Kerala Medical Officers’ Admission to Postgraduate Courses under Service Quota Bill to the subject committee.

The Bill seeks to provide for 40 per cent service quota for doctors in government service in various postgraduate courses in the medical colleges of the State.

It also seeks to exempt doctors and lecturers in medical colleges with MBBS qualifications from writing the entrance test for admissions, subject to minimum marks (50 per cent) in the MBBS examinations.

Those with service in rural and difficult areas will also get priority.

Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy, who piloted the Bill, said the State government had obtained clearance from the Centre for the Bill as it sought to change provisions in the Central laws and regulations of the Indian Medical Council. Kerala Congress leader K.M. Mani had raised objections to the introduction of the Bill on the ground that it contravened Central legislation. The Minister said that quota and exemption from the entrance test was being proposed as doctors serving in rural areas would not find time to study for entrance examinations.

They would not be able to compete in the general stream.

Congress member Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, who participated in the debate on the Bill, said that amends should be made to ensure that the quota did not compromise on the quality of doctors joining the postgraduate courses.