Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Friday approved a bill providing 7.5% reservation in medical colleges from this academic year to students from government schools who have cleared the entrance examinations. On Thursday, the state government had passed a relevant order as the bill was awaiting the governor’s assent.

Tamil Nadu governor's assent to provide 7.5% quota in NEET to government school students

The Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Courses in Medicine, Dentistry, Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy on preferential basis to the students of the Government Schools Bill, 2020, was passed in the Assembly on September 15. Several leaders in Tamil Nadu, including Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief MK Stalin, had urged Purohit to approve the bill.

The government order said that since the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test results are now out, there is an urgency to resolve the matter. NEET results were announced on October 16. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had earlier said that over 300 medical seats would go to economically backward students from government students due to this sub-quota.

The 7.5% quota would be applicable to those who studied in government schools from Class 6 to Class 12 and would be applicable in each category of vertical reservation that the Tamil Nadu government follows within the 69% reservation cap. It would be applicable to state quota seats in all government medical and dental colleges, self-financing medical and dental colleges, minority and non-minority (institutions) and under all disciplines, the government order said. However, this would not apply to seats reserved for the all-India quota.

The courses that it would be applicable for include MBBS, Bachelor of Dental Surgery, Bachelor of Siddha Medicine and Surgery, Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery, Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery, and Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery for the 2020-2021 academic year.

“Of the 7,968 higher secondary schools in the state, 3,054 schools (38.32%) have been run by the government,” Palaniswami said while explaining the quota, according to Mint. “Of the 8.41 lakh students in higher secondary courses, 3.44 lakh students (41%) were in government-run schools. Of the 5,550 medical seats in Tamil Nadu, 4,043 are of state quota. Of this, only 0.15% of seats have been given to students hailing from poor economic backgrounds who study in government schools.”