India is home to over 1.7 billion individuals out of which 20 million are disabled in some form. While medicine is an occupation with little scope for students with severe disabilities, there are provisions made for the differently-abled students in India.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) laid down a set of guidelines in 2003 for students who could be enrolled into medical colleges for MBBS. These guidelines are specifically for individuals with locomotor disabilities of the lower limbs. Any individual with 50-70 per cent disability in the lower limbs can be considered for the reserved seats under the Disabilities Act.
By 2004, the central government issued a letter to all states and union territories. This letter focused on utilising the three per cent reservation for these students.
This was followed by a clarification issued in 2006 by MCI. In case the three per cent seats were not filled by students with 50-70 per cent disabilities of the lower limbs, the seats would be diverted to students with disabilities ranging from 40-50 percent. In case if there were vacant seats despite this, they would be transferred to the general category.
In order to encourage more students to apply for medical courses, in 2008, the minimum percentage to be obtained by applicants was relaxed by five. Any applicant obtaining 45 per cent or more in the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) instead of 50 will be eligible. In fact, any student with the 45th or higher percentile will be considered eligible for then taking the fitness test before being enrolled. A disability certificate can be issued by any Primary Health Care Unit.
- 40 per cent- Up to mid-foot
- 50 per cent- Syme Amputation
- 55 per cent- Through Ankle
- 60 per cent- Below Knee, up to lower 1/3rd of the leg
- 70 per cent- Below Knee, up to 8 cm
Over the years there have been some cases where in students with disabilities of the upper limbs have sought a seat based on merit, but have been denied the seat because of the disabilities. A couple of such students have been known to move to court and seek admission in medical colleges. These students were granted admission for the MBBS course.