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Medical PG doors open to disabled

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eMediNexus    22 March 2018

New Delhi: The Union health ministry said on Wednesday that it would allow persons with any of 21 disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder, blindness, cerebral palsy, deafness, learning disabilities and mental illness, to apply for postgraduate medical courses.

The health ministry said it had granted approval to amend admission rules to PG medical courses to expand the scope of persons with disabilities receiving reservation benefits and increase the percentage of seats reserved for persons with disabilities from 3 to 5 per cent.

"Now (persons with) all 21 benchmark disabilities as per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, can register for admission to medical courses," health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda said.

The amended provisions of the Act covers 21 categories of disabled persons, including people with blindness and low-vision, impaired hearing and deaf persons, people with locomotor disability, dwarfism, intellectual disability, mental illness, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, chronic neurological conditions, learning disabilities, multiple sclerosis, speech and language disability, thalassaemia, haemophilia, sick cell disease, multiple disabilities, including deaf-and-blind persons, former patients with leprosy, acid-attack victims, and patients with Parkinsons Disease.

The health ministry said the directorate-general of health services had amended software for central counselling for admissions to PG medical courses to allow registration of such candidates.

"The allotment of seats would be followed by a medical examination to ascertain the level of disability before finally granting admission to candidates selected under the reserved quota," it said.

Under current rules, 3 per cent of seats are reserved for "physically handicapped" candidates only for locomotor disabilities of lower limbs between 50 per cent to 70 per cent.

If the 3 per cent quota remains unfilled because of unavaibility of candidates with these levels of disability, the unfilled seats may be offered to candidates with locomotor disability of lower limbs between 40 and 50 per cent.

Dr K.K. Aggarwal, a senior member of the Indian Medical Association, said the ministrys decision followed a Supreme Court ruling and a Medical Council of India decision to provide equal education opportunities to all persons with disabilities.

This is a well-intentioned move, but a panel of medical experts will need to determine whether a person would be able to perform the tasks required in medicine, Aggarwal said.

A health ministry official said the rules were also likely to be amended to open undergraduate MBBS courses to persons with any of the 21 disabilities.

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