pradip chatterjee
KOLKATA, 27 JUNE: An age-old system of admitting candidates to medical courses through donors’ quota without clearing the entrance examination which has been in practice at various medical colleges for many years is to be abolished from this year as the Medical Council of India (MCI) in its gazette notification has stated that candidates willing to pursue the course must secure a place in the merit list of the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET). NEET is a national-level medical entrance examination introduced in this academic year.
However, the college authorities are confused as they are yet to receive any instruction from the state health department regarding this. A senior official from one of the medical colleges in the city said that they still don’t know what they will do with the seats under donors quota. Till last year candidates were admitted through this quota. But this year MCI in the gazette notification  clearly mentioned that in order to be eligible for admission to MBBS/BDS courses for a particular academic year, it will be necessary for a candidate to obtain minimum marks in NEET for the said academic year besides obtaining minimum prescribed marks in the qualifying examination. No candidate who has failed to obtain the minimum eligibility marks as prescribed by the MCI and the Dental Council of India shall be admitted to MBBS/BDS courses in the said academic year. The notification also said the candidates who want to go abroad for medical studies have to clear NEET.
The practice which was started in some of the city’s medical colleges during the British rule continued even after Independence as the state government failed to abolish the quota system in prestigious medical courses. Some unworthy candidates, without the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) ranks used to find a place in some top state-run medical colleges in the city. Last year a Cabinet minister’s daughter got admitted to one of the medical colleges in the city through this quota after she failed to secure a rank in JEE.
Professor Tapan Kumar Lahiri, principal, Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, said: “The state health department has not yet given any instruction so far regarding the admission of candidates. We will follow the department’s instruction and admit those candidates after counseling. We have already written to the heath department seeking its instruction.”
Dr Susanta Banerjee, Director of Medical Education, said: “The notification issued by the MCI does not hamper the quota seats in the state.” 
Dr AK Maity, an expert in the field who was formerly attached to SSKM hospital, said: “All the candidates even under the quota seats must obtain the minimum marks in NEET and find a place in the merit list. Otherwise, nobody will get admission in undergraduate medical courses, as per the instructions of MCI."