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With Entrance Exam Confusion And Ranks For Sale, MBBS Aspirants In Kolkata Stuck In Limbo

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By Aishik Purkait and Shreya Venkatraman:

After the Supreme Court judgement, which cleared the deck for holding the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) for MBBS in two phases for the academic year 2016-17, with NEET 1 already been held on May 1 and NEET 2 for students who did not appear for the first phase of the exam, it was made clear that all other admission tests, held and scheduled, stands scrapped. This made the NEET compulsory for those seeking MBBS admission as it was created to have a common level playing field. This led to protests across various states with people coming out to the streets to voice their opposition. In West Bengal, the scene was not very different.

Seeing the growing protests, the courts allowed the state to hold their own state exams which were earlier called off. The West Bengal State (WBJEE) exams were scheduled to be conducted in the month of July.

However, between  the months of June and July, between the first and second NEET exam scheduled to take place in the month of July, all the seats were sold according to the rank that a student wanted. On Facebook, people proudly proclaimed how they had bought seats and went on to tell people that they should not worry and will get a rank of their choice if they pay an amount which went up to an amount as high as INR 50-60 lakhs and beyond.


About 86,000 students registered for the exam but only 54,000 students appeared for the exams. Questions were also raised on the fact that students who scored marks as high as 173 or 217 were not given a rank even though the qualifying marks for the Unreserved category (UR) was 215 out of 250.

Unlike the previous year , this year around 12,000 students qualified while last year around 5,000 people qualified. The obvious uptick has raised plenty of questions.

Accusations were raised against one of the residential coaching institutions, Al Ameen Mission, Panchur, Bengal. It was attacked with allegations that most of its students attained a rank in the first 1500 of the merit list as mentioned in a tweet by Dr. Amit Gupta, an MBBS doctor from TN Medical college, Mumbai, and an RTI activist.

266 out of the first 1500 ranks were allotted to students from this particular institution adding to the absurdity of roll numbers being allotted to these students one after the other and on being given the same center. This alleged involvement was nothing but an extension of the online trading of seats to students.

Questions were also raised on the two private medical colleges in Bengal.

Two of West Bengal’s private medical colleges, KPC Medical College and Hospitals and IQ city have been accused of being involved in this case. “Cake nahi khaya pura bakery kha liya ” (“You didn’t just eat the cake, you ate the entire bakery”)  was the observation of the Calcutta High Court on their respective admission processes.

KPC Medical college in its admission notice mentioned that the seats will be allotted on first-come-first-serve basis to the first 77 applicants, which leaves open the sanctity of the profession itself. It released its ranks before all the applications were even filed and hence the students had no choice but to start a statewide protest against the college. In response, the management of the college said that the previous list would be removed and instead a new list will be published.

IQ city on the other hand published the roll numbers and the name of the applicants without the ranks, making their admission process vague.

“I’m very upset about whatever happened and this is unfair as I have been preparing for the past two years. I was expecting at least a seat in dental colleges,” said Tannavi Singh, one of the aspiring medical students in Kolkata. Tannavi’s plight is very similar to the thousands of students who worked hard to study for the one thing that mattered the most to them: getting a good rank to get into a good medical college.

Another student, who refused to be named said, “After the publication of WBJEE results, we have been pushed to a condition of deep frustration and depression. I scored 167 and got 2532 rank instead of getting a rank between 500-700 which indicates the corruption and nepotism in the entire process. The attitude of the WBJEE board of not publishing total merit list along with the score on an open platform adds fuel to the suspicion.”

These accounts from the aspirants raises questions regarding the profession itself while answers and the road ahead remains unclear.


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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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