National Medical Commission (NMC) has removed the upper age limit for NEET under-graduate entrance exams.
Any Candidate who has completed 18 years of age by 31 December of the year of examination will now be eligible to appear in the examination.
This rule will be applicable from 2022's examinations onwards.
Back in 2017, CBSE had fixed the maximum age limit for appearing in the NEET-UG examination at 25 years for students in the general category.
The upper age limit was fixed at 30 years for AC, ST and OBC candidates.
According to news agency ANI, Dr Pulkesh Kumar, Secretary of NMC, informed of the change via a letter sent to the office of Senior Director of National Testing Agency, Dr Devvrat on 9 March, 2022.
"It has been decided in the fourth NMC meeting held on 21 October, 2021, that there should not be any fixed upper age limit for appearing in the NEET-UG examination."NMC's Letter to the NTA
The maximum age limit prescribed for the examination was challenged several times before this in the Supreme Court and several High Courts.
Scrapping the upper age limit allows aspiring students to keep taking the exam indefinately. Not only that, they can also take the exam even while being enrolled in another course.
What is National Medical Commission (NMC)?
The National Medical Commission (National Medical Commission) is an Indian regulatory body of 33 members, which regulates medical education and medical professionals. It was formed on 25 September 2020 to replace the Medical Council of India.
The National Medical Commission recognizes medical qualifications, recognizes medical schools, grants registration to doctors, and oversees medical practice and also assesses the medical infrastructure in India. They also make all the policies related to medical education and medical services in the country
What Do Students Think of the Move to Scrap the Upper Age Limit?
FIT spoke to some doctors, and students aspiring to become doctors to know their thoughts on the removal of the upper age limit for NEET undergraduate entrance examinations.
Saloni, who took admission in medicine this year, says, "according to me, the impact of this decision will be both positive and negative. "
"The positive effect will be that the stress will be reduced. A golden opportunity to keep trying will be at hand. Also, those who could not fulfill the dream of becoming a doctor due to some compulsion and crossing the age limit, now they will also try to make it a reality."Saloni, NEET-UG Aspirant
On the other hand, she says, "this can have a negative effect on our thinking. Without the upper age limit, the mentality of giving exams every year will remain. Because of which we will not be able to move forward in life."
Aditya, another student preparing for the medical entrance examination, agrees with Saloni. This decision will also prove to be very helpful for those studying medicine abroad." he says.
However, he adds, they will also be at a disadvantage as the number of examinees will increase every year, which will increase the competition.
What is the opinion of doctors on this
Dr Niranjan Jadav, Senior Resident, Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi, says, “The journey to becoming a doctor is a long one and if the journey starts late, it will affect the work-life balance.”
“I am 31 years old, in the final year of my PG (Post Graduation). Many times I see patients and do surgery without going home for 3 consecutive days. How will those who come in at a later age be able to cope?"Dr Niranjan Jadav, Senior Resident, Safdarjung Hospital, Delh
This question asked by Dr Niranjan was answered by Dr Ajay Kumar, former President of IMA and Director of Urology, Nephrology and Transplantation, Paras HMRI Hospital, Patna while speaking to FIT.
"When we don't discriminate in exams on the basis of caste, religion, gender and colour, why do so on the basis of age?"Dr Ajay Kumar, Director Urology, Nephrology and Transplantation, Paras HMRI Hospital, Patna
“If someone enters the medical field at the age of 30, he will continue to learn till the age of 50, while completing his studies. Practice and experience are essential in this field,” says Dr Udgeeth Dhir, Director and HOD, CTVC at Fortis Hospital.
While Dr Udgeeth Dhir has described this decision as beneficial for the 'late bloomers', the same has not been justified for the medical world moving towards the 'Super Specialty Era'.
According to him, India needs expert doctors, which is not going to be met by removing this upper age limit.
"This decision of NMC is like a double-edged sword."Dr. Udgeeth Dhir, Director & HOD CTVC, Fortis Hospital, Gurgaon
The era of COVID told us that there is a severe shortage of medical supplies in the country. In such a situation, there is a need to increase these facilities on a war footing.
At the same time, the second biggest aspect came to the fore that despite the availability of medicines and medical equipment, if there is a shortage of trained health workers, then any crisis can take a more formidable form.
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