Union Health Ministry officials on Friday said reducing the qualifying percentile for NEET PG 2023 to zero will increase the pool of qualifying candidates but not dilute the merit system for admission to PG medical courses.

Only those scoring the highest marks will get admission for PG medical courses, they said. The admission will be done through a transparent counselling process and will do away with alleged backdoor entry that was offered by some private colleges, the officials said.

They dismissed as imaginary the speculation that students with zero percentile could also become specialist doctors. The reality is that students with the highest marks will be eligible for admission to their choice of courses and colleges, they said.

There are 68,142 PG medical seats in the country.

Till now, candidates scoring above the 50 percentile have been eligible to participate in the counselling process for medical PG admission through NEET.

Last year, the qualifying criteria were kept at 20 percentile even though 3000 seats remained vacant under the all-India quota, they said.

Some seats remained vacant under the state quota as well.

“This year alone, of the 68,000 available seats, 13,000 still haven’t been taken up,” an official said.

Till now, candidates scoring the most marks have been given the first preference for choosing the course and college. The entire admission is online and


“Since a lot of seats in the entire process remained vacant, the students with zero percentile marks are now being given the opportunity to participate in the counselling process. The move for students means that admission through the counselling process will continue till seats are available,” the official said.

From time to time, the Supreme Court and various high courts on various petitions have stated that an arrangement should be made to ensure no seats remain vacant. “The present move will increase the pool of qualifying candidates but only those scoring the highest marks will get admission for PG medical,” an official source said.

The entire process will still be merit-based and only that many students will get admission as there are PG seats in the country, the officials said.

Under the present system, seats in non-clinical branches like anatomy, microbiology, physiology and pathology went vacant due to a lesser number of students opting for them.

“Now this move will lead to a greater likelihood of these seats being filled. And 7000 to 10,000 going vacant every year will get filled,” an official source stated.

“It is for the information to candidates that the qualifying percentile for PG Courses (Medical/ Dental) for NEET PG counselling 2023 has been reduced to ‘zero’ across all categories by MoHFW,” said a notice issued by the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC), Directorate of Health Services, Government of India on Sep 20.
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