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The Supreme Court on Thursday permitted Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) to begin online counseling for allotment of over 2,000 seats in medical colleges for MBBS and BDS courses under 15% all-India quota from this academic session.

After the regulator, Medical Council of India (MCI), said it had no objection to online counseling, a bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar cleared decks for implementation of DGHS proposal to do away with existing mode of counseling that required candidates to be present in person.

Delhi used to be the main centre from where allotment of 15% all-India quota of undergraduate medical and dental course seats in various medical colleges used to take place, with candidates participating in counseling through video conferencing from other centres like Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. In 2011, DGHS conducted counseling for 4,150 candidates for 2,194 seats in MBBS and BDS courses.

Till now, the candidates used to take long journeys up to six times from their hometowns to the metros within a short span of time to attend counseling sessions. “The expenditure for candidates during online counseling will be almost nil and much less for the government. The online counseling process will be faceless yet fully transparent and fair,” the DGHS counsel Ashok Bhan promised.

The proposal for online counseling was recommended by an expert committee, headed by Director General of Health Services, which was tasked by the ministry of health and family welfare to find out ways and means to address the problem of seats remaining vacant even after two rounds of counseling every year.

In its application before the apex court, the DGHS said: “The committee has recommended that by changing the method of allotment from existing counseling by personal appearance to online counseling and by increasing the number of candidates eligible to take part in counseling both in undergraduate and post-graduate courses may significantly reduce the number of seats that remain unfilled at the end of all-India quota counseling.”


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