Students who have opted for the PCM (Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics) stream in Class 11 and 12 can still become doctors now in the country. As per the latest guidelines by the National Medical Commission (NMC), the PCM stream students can clear the biology/biotechnology examination as an additional subject at 10+2 level from any recognised board to become a doctor eventually.

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The new NMC rule says that students who pursued physics, chemistry, biology, or biotechnology along with English even as an additional subject after passing class 12 from duly recognised boards will be eligible to appear in the NEET-UG test.

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The decision will apply even to those students whose applications were previously rejected, NMC added.

What was the previous guideline for NEET-UG?

The erstwhile Medical Council of India (MCI) had mentioned that candidates must have undergone two years of regular or continuous study of the subjects of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, or Biotechnology, in Class 11 and 12 with practical, along with English could sit for the exam. Earlier, the two-year study was required to be completed from regular schools and not from open schools or as private candidates.

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Further, the study of Biology and Biotechnology or any other requisite subject, could not be completed as an additional subject after passing Class 12.

The provisions had been challenged before the Delhi High Court and were quashed vide judgment dated May 11, 2018, in a case and other related matters.

This had a consequential bearing on the candidates seeking admission in graduate and primary medical courses in foreign medical institutes due to the statutory regulations in this regard i.e. the eligibility requirement for taking admission in an Undergraduate Medical Course in a Foreign Medical Institution Regulations, 2002 and the Screening Test Regulation, 2002.

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In this background, candidates had been debarred from the NEET-UG Test as also their applications seeking eligibility certificates were rejected.

What new NEET-UG guidleines say?

The National Medical Commission held detailed deliberations in a meeting held on June 14, 2023, and took into consideration the New Education Policy, which permits a great extent of flexibility in the study of various subjects in Class 12.

And “decided that the previous approach of the erstwhile Medical Council of India needs to be revisited by permitting candidates to undertake a study of the requisite subjects (Physics, Chemistry, Biology / Biotechnology along with English) even as additional subjects after passing Class 12th from duly recognized boards by the concerned Government”.

Such candidates shall be permitted to appear in the NEET-UG Test and thus will be eligible for a grant of eligibility certificate, the notice stated.

The present decision shall be applicable retrospectively also on candidates whose applications for grant of eligibility certificate have been rejected on the grounds contemplated in the present public notice. However, to appear in NEET-UG, candidates who become eligible after the date of the present public notice, shall be permitted to appear in NEET-UG-2024.

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Updated: 24 Nov 2023, 12:32 PM IST