Students of the Maratha community seeking admissions to medical and dental Undergraduate (UG) programmes have raised the issue of cancellation of reservation for Maratha quota. Students state they are deprived of 12 per cent reservation of seats and forced to opt for admissions in the open category in government medical colleges where the competition for seats is high.
Admissions to Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) and Bachelor of Dental Studies (BDS) programmes are currently going on as the first merit list was declared on November 15, 2020. Students who were planning to apply under the Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) category or Maratha quota have now been instructed by the state government to apply under open category. This decision was taken following the interim stay on SEBC reservation in admissions initiated by the Supreme Court (SC) on September 9. The matter is still pending in the court.
Students of the Maratha community who are now applying under the open category said the cut-offs for seats in government medical colleges are high. Yashad Sawant, a student said, "I do not think I will be able to secure a seat for MBBS programme in a medical college in Mumbai without the 12 per cent Maratha reservation. I will have to opt for a medical college in a remote district in Maharashtra."
Shivaji Bhosale, a second year Postgraduate (PG) medical student, said, "When we apply for admissions to medical programmes, we rely heavily on quota seats. First of all, scoring high marks in the entrance NEET UG exam is tough and then securing a seat in a government medical college is a challenge as the cut-off marks are high. It is quite difficult to secure a seat in a state-run medical college without reservation because of the intense competition."
The cut-offs have gone high this year as the SEBC category or Maratha quota reservation was removed by the state government, said Sudha Shenoy, the representative of the medical parents' association. Shenoy said, "As students under SEBC category or Maratha quota have shifted their application to open category, the cut-off in the first merit round have gone high compared to last year."
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