In a groundbreaking move, The Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) has issued a notice, bringing significant news of a reduction in the qualifying percentile for the NEET PG 2023 exam to “Zero percentile” across all categories. This pivotal change in the NEET PG 2023 cut-off comes into effect during the third round of counselling, resulting in an unexpected surplus of vacant PG seats after the second counselling round.

The NEET PG 2023 cut-off percentile is set at 50 for the general category, 40 for SC/ST/OBC, and 45 for General-PH candidates, respectively, further emphasizing the eligibility criteria for aspiring medical students.

After the second counselling round, an astounding 13,000 PG seats were left vacant out of a total of 63,000. In response to this surplus, the MCC decided to drop the qualifying percentile from the standard 50 to an unprecedented zero, effectively allowing even those who scored zero percentile i.e zero or even a negative score to enter PG programs.

If we look at the past few years, in 2019-20, there were a total of 54,275 seats, out of which 4,614 remained vacant. In the following year, 2020-2021, there were 55,495 seats, and 1,425 of them remained unoccupied. Then, in 2021-2022, the total number of seats increased to 60,202, with 3,744 seats going unfilled. The puzzling question that arises year after year is why so many seats in esteemed departments, such as General Medicine, Gynaecology, and Surgery, remain vacant.

The Impact on Healthcare Standards:

In India, a total of 50% of MBBS seats are in private colleges, and 40% of PG seats are also in private colleges. Due to the zero percentile cut-off, now anyone who has the financial means can easily secure admission to a private college, regardless of their exam scores. This practice has the potential to lower the standards of our healthcare system.

The consequences of this practice extend far beyond financial accessibility. As seats are increasingly allocated based on financial capacity rather than merit, we run the risk of compromising the standards of healthcare education. The emphasis shifts from selecting the most qualified candidates to those who can pay the exorbitant fees, potentially resulting in inadequately trained medical professionals. This erosion of educational quality carries far-reaching implications for the healthcare system, which relies on well-trained and competent medical practitioners.

The Government's Acknowledgment:

Interestingly, the government itself has recognized this issue in the past. During legal proceedings in the Delhi High Court, a suggestion was made that if seats remained vacant, lowering the qualifying percentile might be a possible solution. While this could potentially fill seats, it poses a substantial risk to the integrity of our healthcare infrastructure and the overall quality of healthcare delivery.


The decision to reduce the NEET PG qualifying percentile to zero is a commendable step towards inclusivity in medical education. However, it serves as a clarion call to address the root causes behind vacant seats, particularly in departments of paramount importance like General Medicine, Gynaecology, and Surgery. By bridging the affordability gap and concurrently maintaining unwavering educational standards, we can ensure that medical education remains accessible and maintains its quality. In doing so, we not only nurture a robust healthcare system but also uphold the promise of quality healthcare for our nation's future.


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