The Congress party has strongly criticized the government’s decision to reduce the qualifying percentile for NEET PG 2023 to zero, describing it as “shocking” and questioning the beneficiaries of completely eliminating minimum standards.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) recently eliminated the qualifying percentile requirement for NEET PG 2023 across all categories. Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh expressed astonishment at the government’s decision to set the entry cutoff for MD/MS degrees via PG-NEET at the zeroth percentile, effectively allowing those with the lowest exam scores to qualify. He pointed out that this contradicts the government’s previous stance in the Delhi High Court, where it stated that NEET-PG cutoffs should not be lowered to maintain minimum educational standards.
Ramesh raised concerns about the consequences of abandoning minimum standards, particularly in the context of increasing access to medical education and addressing the shortage of doctors. He questioned whether this change primarily benefits private medical colleges seeking to sell vacant seats to the highest bidders and whether it caters to influential BJP leaders’ children who might not have qualified without this significant reduction in standards.
Union Health Ministry officials countered these criticisms, emphasizing that reducing the qualifying percentile for NEET PG 2023 to zero would expand the pool of eligible candidates without compromising the merit-based admission system for PG medical courses. They clarified that only students with the highest scores would secure admission to their preferred courses and colleges through a transparent counseling process. Additionally, they dismissed speculations that students with a zero percentile could become specialist doctors.
As of now, there are 68,142 PG medical seats available in the country. Previously, candidates scoring above the 50th percentile were eligible for the counseling process for medical PG admission through NEET. Last year, the qualifying criteria were set at the 20th percentile, but approximately 3,000 seats remained vacant under the all India quota.