Keeping in mind the deteriorating COVID-19 situation in India, the Centre has decided to postpone the NEET (National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test)-PG exam for at least 4 months. 

The decision was taken during a COVID-19 review meeting of the Central Government held in New Delhi on Monday. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

“A decision was taken to postpone NEET-PG for at least 4 months and the exam will not be held before 31st August 2021. Students will also be given at least one month of time after announcement of exam before it is conducted. This will make a large number of qualified doctors available for Covid duties,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) informed in a statement. 

“It was also decided to allow deployment of Medical Interns in Covid Management duties under the supervision of their faculty, as part of the Internship rotation. The services of Final Year MBBS students can be utilized for providing services like tele-consultation and monitoring of mild Covid cases after due orientation by and under supervision of Faculty. This will reduce the workload on existing doctors engaged in Covid duty and provide boost to efforts of triaging,” the statement added. 

“The services of Final Year PG Students (broad as well as super-specialities) as residents may continue to be utilized until fresh batches of PG Students have joined,” the statement further read. 

Notably, the statement from the PMO states: “The individuals providing services in Covid management will be given priority in forthcoming regular Government recruitments after they complete minimum of 100 days of Covid duty.” 

“All such professionals who sign up for minimum 100 days of Covid duty and complete it successfully will also be given the Prime Minister’s Distinguished Covid National Service Samman from Government of India.” 

Also read: Assam and Nagaland Governments request Northeast Frontier Railways to convert coaches into COVID care isolation centres

Full details of the key decisions were taken: 

  1. RELAXATION/FACILITATION/EXTENSION: 

Postponement of NEET-PG for at least 4 months: Considering the current situation in the wake of resurgence of COVID – 19, NEET (PG) – 2021 has been postponed. This Exam will not be held before 31st August 2021. At least one-month time will be given after the announcement of the Examination before it is conducted. 

The State/UT Governments are to make all efforts to reach out to each such prospective NEET candidates and request them to join the Covid – 19 workforces in this hour of need. The services of these MBBS doctors can be utilized in the management of COVID – 19. The State/UT Governments may now also deploy Medical Interns in Covid Management duties under the supervision of their faculty, as part of the Internship rotation. The services of Final Year MBBS students can be utilized for providing services like tele-consultation and monitoring of mild Covid cases after due orientation by and under supervision of Faculty. 

Continuation of services of Final year PGs: The services of Final Year PG Students (broad as well as super-specialities) as residents may continue to be utilized until fresh batches of PG Students have joined. Likewise, the services of the senior residents / registrars may continue to be utilized until new recruitments are made. 

Nursing personnel: B.Sc./GNM Qualified Nurses may be utilized in full-time Covid nursing duties in ICU, etc., under the supervision of Senior Doctors and Nurses. M.Sc. Nursing students, Post basic B.Sc. (N) and Post basic Diploma nursing students are Registered Nursing Officers and their services can be utilized to take care of COVID- 19 patients as per the Hospital protocols/policies. Final Year GNM or B.Sc. (Nursing) students awaiting Final Exam may also be given full time Covid Nursing duties at various Government/Private facilities under the supervision of Senior Faculty. 

The services of Allied Health Care professionals may be utilized for assistance in Covid Management, based on their training and certification. 

The additional human resource thus mobilized will be used only in facilities managing Covid. 

  1. INCENTIVES/ RECOGNITION OF SERVICE 

The individuals providing services in Covid management will be given priority in forthcoming regular Government recruitments after they complete minimum of 100 days of Covid duty. 

The National Health Mission (NHM) norm for contractual human resource engagement by States/UTs may be considered for implementation of the above proposed initiative for engaging the additional manpower. Flexibility will be available with States to decide on remuneration as in NHM norms. A suitable honorarium for distinguished Covid Service may also be considered 

The medical students/professionals sought to be engaged in Covid related work will be suitably vaccinated. All Health professionals thus engaged will be covered under the Insurance Scheme of Government for health workers engaged in fighting Covid 19. 

All such professionals who sign up for minimum 100 days of Covid duty and complete it successfully will also be given the Prime Minister’s Distinguished Covid National Service Samman from Government of India. 

State Governments can make available additional health professionals engaged through this process to private Covid Hospitals as well in surge areas. 

The vacant posts of doctors, nurses, allied professionals and other healthcare staff in Health and Medical departments be filled through accelerated processes within 45 days through contractual appointments, based on NHM norms. 

The States/ UTs have been requested to consider the above incentives to maximise manpower availability. 

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