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How the Centre’s ill-defined reservation criteria led to a massive doctors’ strike


For nearly two weeks now, hospital services in Delhi have been crippled by a strike by resident doctors over the deadlock in admissions to postgraduate medical courses. On Monday, the police allegedly thrashed and detained protesting doctors, registering a case against them, which prompted their association to announce a complete shutdown of services on Wednesday.

Postgraduate medical students work as resident doctors in hospitals while pursuing their studies. They handle a major part of the workload in public hospitals. They are protesting because admissions to postgraduate medical courses have been delayed by several months. With a fresh batch of students yet to join, resident doctors say they are struggling to cope with work pressures as yet another pandemic year looms ahead.

The delay in admissions has been caused by the government’s inability to furnish information that the Supreme Court asked for while hearing legal challenges to the newly introduced reservations for students belonging to economically weaker sections, or EWS.

What are EWS reservations?

Reservations for economically weaker sections were introduced by the government through a constitutional amendment in 2019. It is meant for those outside the ambit of reservations for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes and who fall below a certain income criteria.

The constitutional…

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