The central government has decided to introduce reservation for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates for admission to undergraduate medical and dental courses from this year under the All India entrance examination.
The Union Health Ministry has issued direction to the Director General of Health Services to implement 15 per cent reservation for Scheduled Castes and 7.5 per cent for Scheduled Tribes in the exams conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education, a senior Health Ministry official told PTI.
With the introduction of the quota, around 310 SC and 155 ST students will benefit this year.
In 2007, the total number of MBBS/BDS seats was 2,075, which were filled up on the basis of merit exclusively.
The decision was taken after the Supreme Court, hearing an application in this regard filed by the Health Ministry, left it to the Centre to take a policy decision on the matter.
Seats in government medical and dental colleges across the country that are under the All India quota are filled up on the basis of the All India Entrance Examination.
Earlier, the seats would be filled up only on the basis of merit and without any reservation.
The state governments, however, were adopting reservation for SC/ST candidates as per the state policy under their own quota.
A total of 15 per cent of seats in all state government colleges are set aside for the All India entrance exams for MBBS and BDS courses.
Reservation was introduced in entrance exams to the PG courses at the All India level in 2007 following a similar application to the Supreme Court by the Health Ministry.
This reservation of seats for PG courses will continue, the official said.
Following the new reservation, in all 1184 SC/ST students will benefit in both undergraduate and Post Graduate courses.
The CBSE will conduct the preliminary test for All India entrance exam on April 6 and the final on May 11.