The new reservation provision will be implemented from this year itself

The central government has announced a 27 percent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and a 10 percent quota for the economically weaker sections in the all India quota scheme for undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses.

The new reservation provision will be implemented in this year's admission as well. All undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses, including dental, will have reservations for OBCs and economically weak sections from 2021-22 onwards.

The decision will benefit nearly 1,500 OBC students seeking to join MBBS courses and 2,500 backward category students in postgraduate courses. It will also benefit around 550 EWS students in MBBS and around 1,000 EWS students in postgraduate courses, the health ministry said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lauded the landmark decision. In a series of tweets, the Prime Minister said, "Our Government has taken a landmark decision for providing 27% reservation for OBCs and 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Section in the All India Quota Scheme for undergraduate and postgraduate medical/dental courses from the current academic year. This will immensely help thousands of our youth every year get better opportunities and create a new paradigm of social justice in our country."

All India Quota scheme was introduced in 1986 under a Supreme Court direction. The aim was to enable students of another state to get reservation benefits in other states as well. Until 2008, there was no reservation in the All India Quota scheme. In 2007, the Supreme Court introduced reservations of 15% for SCs and 7.5% for STs in the all-India scheme.

“The present Government is committed to providing due reservation both to the backward category as well as the EWS category. The Union Government has now taken a historic decision to provide for 27% reservation for OBCs and 10% reservation for EWS in the AIQ Scheme. The OBC students from across the country shall now be able to take benefit of this reservation in AIQ Scheme to compete for seats in any State. Being a Central Scheme, the Central List of OBCs shall be used for this reservation. Around 1500 OBC students in MBBS and 2500 in post graduation will be benefited through this reservation,” the central government said in a statement.

“The OBC students from across the country shall now be able to take advantage of this reservation in the AIQ scheme to compete for seats in any state. Being a central scheme, the central list of OBCs shall be used for this reservation," the ministry said.

To reserve seats for students belonging to the EWS category, a constitutional amendment was made in 2019, enabling the provision of 10% reservation. Accordingly, seats in medical and dental colleges were increased over two years in 2019-20 and 2020-21 to accommodate more students so that the total number of seats available for the unreserved category do not reduce.

In the AIQ seats, this benefit had not been extended so far.

Therefore, along with the 27% reservation for OBCs, 10% reservation for EWS is also being extended in AIQ seats for all the undergraduate and postgraduate medical and dental courses from the current academic year 2021-22.

This decision, the health ministry said, is in sync with the reforms carried out in the field of medical education since 2014.

In the six years to 2020, MBBS seats in the country have increased by 56% to 84,649 and the number of postgraduate seats have increased by 80% to 54,275 seats.

During the same period, 179 new medical colleges have been established for a total of 558 medical colleges (269 of them are run by private operators).