NEET-PG aspirants on edge, say exams must be held at earliest

New Delhi: While the National Board of Examinations in Medical Sciences has announced that the NEET-PG 2021 will be held on September 11 amid medical experts across the country warning of a third Covid wave as an inevitability, tens of thousands of aspirants anxiously waiting for months are calling for the exams to be held as soon as possible and preferably before the third wave hits the country.

Many had repeatedly asked that the Health Ministry or Supreme Court should announce a fixed date for the exam or at least a concrete timeline that they can adhere to - following which the dates were made public a day ago.

FORDA (Federation of Resident Doctors Association), IMA (Indian Medical Association), and FAIMA (Federation of All India Medical Association) have also made representations to the government, asking them to expedite the exam.

In a letter to the Secretary of Health, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, FORDA wrote: "NEET PG entrance exam 2021 was expected to take place in January 2021. However, due to the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, the examinations were postponed indefinitely. Medical institutions across the country are falling short of manpower due to inability of the first-year PG residents to join the course. Final year PG residents are serving a seemingly indefinite extension of their tenure. Delay in conduction of NEET PG 2021 is causing misery to the academic career of the aspirants as well as the residents serving tenure extension".

Earlier this year, the NEET PG for 30,000 PG medical seats in the country, was postponed from January to April and then to after August 31 - driving early 2 lakh MBBS graduates to the edge.

A junior resident working at a Delhi Government COVID-19 care facility told Millennium Post, "I have been preparing for the past 2 years and this delay has ruined me. The chances of getting a PG seat are decreasing day by day and I am losing what little motivation I have left. Majority of students, those who are seriously preparing, want the exam to be conducted at the earliest. Due to the PMO notice, everyone was of the view that the exam will be after August 31st, that's why everyone is sticking to it."

Speaking about the large amount of coaching fees and cost of preparations, students also said that it was becoming financially difficult to sustain themselves in the city, especially for those who were running out of savings, had to pay rent and fees (without an active income), and could not ask for money from family. "I have been jobless for two years now. There are a lot of financial problems in my family," the junior resident said, adding that the exams should definitely be held by September.

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