For Tamil Nadu state government school students who clear the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), a 7.5 per cent horizontal reservation on a preferential basis will be set aside in medical admissions. The Tamil Nadu Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed the bill that makes the provision. The move will benefit over 300 students from marginalised backgrounds annually and will be implemented from this year onwards.
The reservation would be available for undergraduate programmes in medicine, dentistry, Indian medicine and homeopathy but it would not apply to seats reserved for all India quota. Those students, who studied from Class VI to Higher Secondary in government schools, including those run by local bodies, and have qualified the NEET, would benefit from the legislation.
According to the Chief Minister, students who studied in government schools shall also be entitled to compete for the government seats, other than those set apart on preferential basis, along with those who studied in private schools, said a provision in the legislation.
"The Cabinet gave its approval at the meetings held on June 15 and July 14, respectively and accordingly the Bill has been brought," Chief Minister Palaniswami said, adding, the move would help many rural and poor students realise their dreams of becoming a doctor. The Bill was unanimously passed by a voice vote, Speaker P Dhanapal said.
Piloting the Bill, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said the AIADMK government took a policy decision to implement this horizontal reservation based on the recommendation of a commission headed by retired high court judge P Kalaiyarasan.
In its report, the commission has observed that students of the government schools were placed at a disadvantageous position compared to their counterparts in private schools owing to various reasons.
These reasons include "the cognitive gap created by socio-economic factors such as caste, wealth, parental occupation, parental education and gender and these psychological and socio-economic barriers cannot be bridged by a few months of intensive coaching for NEET, even if provided for free," it said. For students who studied from Class VI to Higher Secondary Course in government schools and qualified in the NEET, the Commission had recommended that 10% of the MBBS seats could be set apart on a preferential basis.
(With inputs from PTI)