NEET, the common test for MBBS admission all over nation, is perceived as most basic step towards uniformity of medical education. It is a welcome single most important step to transform the medical education. But its effective implementation is extremely vital for it to be successful and that is possible only if government takes strong measures to implement it in a true spirit. NEET can reform medical education, weed out corruption and in turn can radically transform healthcare. This new system should allow fair play, transparency and should set an example for promotion of merit in other arenas too. But it needs to be seen how NEET is finally implemented. It will be very unfortunate if it is diluted for any reason and merit becomes another casualty in accommodating other priorities, rather than having best doctors. It is a now or never situation for the country to pick up best brains of country for training as prospective doctors , decided purely on basis of merit. By diluting the merit criterion, not only do less deserving people get ahead of deserving ones, but it breaks the faith and enthusiasm of the best and deserving people in the system, thereby generating a negativism in the whole system. Failure to implement NEET effectively and strictly should be interpreted as government’s inability to control vested interests in the system.
Enthusiasm and the zeal is what we need here in medical care. With the shortage of thousands of doctors, and our infant and maternal mortality rates matching sub-Saharan countries, it is not only the number of doctors which matters. The most important factor, I think, will be quality and enthusiasm of the people who are working for the system.
Besides Infant and maternal mortality rates, innumerable diseases like tuberculosis, heart and respiratory, cancer, neurological and mental ailments, accident and trauma etc need work on war footing. But the medical system has to be built on the touchstone of merit and enthusiasm for a greater impact. Merely creating number of doctors is not the solution. The need of the hour is more but pure meaning on pure merit. If that does not happen sufferers will be poor genuine aspiring doctors and casualty will be medical profession and ultimately health system and its users.
Let merit not be made a casualty of the system. The ball is now in government’s court and they should ensure that NEET is implemented in its true spirit, to fulfil the dream for which it was envisioned and introduced which is to bring medical care in India to its most cherished peak.