Maharashtra scraps 70% regional quota for medical seats, to follow ‘1 Maha 1 Merit’ | Mumbai News


MUMBAI: The state government has junked a 20-year-old regional reservation policy followed for medical college admissions. Announcing the decision to scrap the 70:30 reservation formula in the state assembly on Tuesday, medical education minister Amit Deshmukh said that henceforth, the ‘One Maharashtra One Merit’ principle will be applicable.
For medical admissions, the state is divided into three regions—Marathwada, Vidarbha and Rest of Maharashtra (RoM). As per the policy, 70% of medical college seats in these regions were set aside for locals and the remaining 30% were for the entire state.
Deshmukh told the lower house that many bright students were deprived of medical education due to the 70:30 quota system. “Now all admissions will be given only on the basis of merit in NEET,” he said.
In a press statement, he said the number of colleges and the seat distribution differed in the three regions and thus meritorious students from Marathwada and Vidarbha were at a loss. He added there have been continuous demands from the Marathwada region. The decision will allow meritorious students from across the state to get admissions in the college of their choice, he said.
Dr T P Lahane, director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research, said the ‘One Maharashtra One Merit’ principle will be implemented from this year.
“It should have ideally been implemented a few years ago when NEET was made mandatory. Within the state, there was no point in having reservations. It is a fair move,” Lahane said.
The decision to reserve 30% state quota seats was taken in 1999. Prior to this, 100% seats were filled only by local students from the respective university zones, said Dr Pravin Shingare, former DMER director. The meritorious students from other zones, therefore, were deprived of seats in sought-after colleges in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.
However, over a period of time, this policy was being misused as students migrated to other cities for their SSC and HSC exams and claimed domicile of that region, only to get a seat under the 70% regional quota, he said, adding that scrapping the policy is a welcome move and admissions should be only based on state merit.
ROM currently has 13 government and 11 private colleges. It has some of the most sought-after colleges such as the ones attached to KEM, Sion, Nair, JJ hospitals and BJ Medical College, Pune, while Vidarbha has six and Marathwada has only four government colleges. Marathwada, in fact, did not get a single new college for over five years, leading to zero increase in 70% quota seats, Shingare said.
Sudha Shenoy, a parent representative, said the decision is fair, but implementing anything at the eleventh hour is uncalled for. “Students plan their targets based on the previous year’s cut-offs. The move will definitely benefit high-scoring students from regions other than ROM,” she said, adding that the cut-off in government colleges in ROM was 549 last year and it dropped to 535 for Vidarbha and less than 510 for Marathwada colleges. “How the new policy will change these cut-offs will have to be seen this year,” Shenoy said.

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