The mandatory implementation of NEET for the admission to medical courses had a negative impact on the medical admissions in Tamil Nadu during the academic session 2017-18. According to the official data of MGR Medical University, the total number of government medical seats under single window counselling dropped from 4,225 in 2016 to 3,456 in 2017. However, the total number of students from other states who took admission to medical courses in Tamil Nadu increased from 589 to 715 in 2017.
Backward districts in Tamil Nadu such as Ramanathapuram, Thiruvarur and Ariyalur sent less than 10 students in 2017 even though these districts do not have a large share of medical seats. Only seven students from Ramanathapuram sought admission to medical courses in 2017. On the other hand, only six students from Thiruvarur and four students from Ariyalur took admission in medical courses last year.
All the above-mentioned districts have been declared as backward areas by the Health Department. The reasons for these areas being in the list of backward areas are lack of adequate doctor-patient ratio and huge vacancies in hospitals. The state government is trying to offer incentives in PG medical admissions for students working in backward districts. However, lack of reservation for in-service candidates is not encouraging doctors to serve in rural areas.
The rural-urban divide will be prevalent in Tamil Nadu until many students from rural areas clear NEET. The process will take some time, and the delay will affect the services at government hospitals in rural areas.
The state government of Tamil Nadu is planning to revise the syllabus to match NEET syllabus. The government is also providing free NEET coaching to the students in rural areas.