To fill 31 NRI quota MBBS seats in three government medical colleges in the state, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) will conduct a separate medical entrance test on August 9.On June 11, BFUHS had conducted the entrance test to fill about 600 government-quota MBBS seats in seven medical colleges in the state.This is the first time in Punjab when there will be separate and special entrance test for NRI candidates.In March, the Department of Medical Education and Research (DMER), Punjab, had abolished this test for NRI students, saying Punjabi students who have studied outside India need not appear in any entrance test. Their admission shall be based on merit in the qualifying examination — Class XII or an equivalent examination with physics, chemistry and biology subjects — read the March 21 notification.On June 10, the DMER — revoking this notification — issued a new notification, making the test compulsory again. Earlier, qualifying this entrance test was must for all NRI students to get admission in the MBBS courses, but the problem with most students was that they were unable to qualify. So, many NRI quota MBBS seats remained vacant.Every NRI candidate has to get minimum 50 per cent marks in the entrance test to be eligible for admission.All such vacant seats were merged in the general category, causing financial loss to the medical colleges. For an NRI candidate, the total fee is $1,10,000 for the MBBS course.This time also, there is a condition of qualifying the entrance test for every candidate to become eligible for admission.Sources revealed that the reason for this separate test for NRI students is that the state Medical Education Department wants to keep this test easier than the PMET so that unlike in the past, a large number of NRI candidates qualify and all NRI seats get filled.However, this “leniency” is limited only 31 NRI quota MBBS seats in three medical colleges. All NRI quota seats in all private medical and dental colleges will be filled on the basis of NEET-2016. Private medical colleges in Punjab have about 70 NRI quota MBBS seats.All admissions on management and NRI quota seats in all private and minority medical institutions in the state shall be based on merit of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET-2016) as per ordinance dated May 24 of the Government of India. And qualifying the NEET shall once again be a big challenge for NRI students.