LS nod for NEET; States’ quotas to stay

All India quota of 15% set by the Supreme Court, will remain; 85 % seats will remain with States

The Lok Sabha, on Tuesday, passed the landmark bill awarding statutory status to the controversial National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) from the next academic session, aimed at ensuring a uniform medical and dental entrance exam.

The bills — The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and The Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2016 — will replace the ordinances promulgated by the President in May this year, to circumvent the Supreme Court order for implementation of NEET examination this session itself, and amend the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and the Dentists Act, 1948.

Addressing the concerns of state governments, Health Minister J.P. Nadda said the objective of NEET was to do away with the multiplicity of exams. “We need a system of fair and transparent exams, without exploitative practices like capitation fee imposed on students by private universities. We do not want students to go from State to State to appear for medical examination,” Mr Nadda clarified.

Under mounting pressure from several State governments, the Centre had in May promulgated two ordinances to keep State boards out of the ambit of uniform medical and dental entrance examination. Health ministers of States had raised concerns over disparity in syllabus, languages, state quota and fee structure.

On Tuesday, Mr Nadda clarified that the new system, under NEET, will not disturb the State quotas. “The all India quota of 15 per cent set by the Supreme Court, will remain as is. The rest of the 85 per cent seats will remain with the States.

“Under NEET, we will write out the name of the successful candidates, domicile, rank and percentage and hand it over to the States, who can allot seats according to caste, creed and other aspects,” the Minister said in the Lok Sabha.

Language issue

Responding to the other significant concern, raised by Southern States over languages, Mr Nadda said that the Health ministry has written to all State governments, asking for last three years’ data of students who appeared in vernacular languages. “We will see to it that every student will be able to take the exam in the language of their choice,” Mr Nadda said, adding that the fee structure for private and deemed universities will be decided by state-level committee headed by judges.

Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, Member of Parliament from Dharmapuri, said, “NEET was against social equity and was anti-rural students. “For an entrance exam, students need coaching centres, which are in urban areas. This will be a gross injustice and the government should oppose it tooth and nail. There are huge disparities in syllabus- and we cannot make students from state board compete with CBSE students. It is against natural justice and also impinges on the state’s autonomy.”

In April, a five-judge bench had quashed its 2013 ruling, allowing introduction of NEET in this academic session itself.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 5:11:07 PM |

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