Govt clears ordinance to defer med entrance test
Ordinance to enable states, institutes to hold own tests this year
NEW DELHI: States might be allowed to continue with their medical entrance tests this year following concerns that a common national examination hurts rural students because of no regional language options and the widely varying syllabi of different boards.
The Union cabinet approved on Friday an ordinance that partially bypassed the Supreme Court order mandating a National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) and exempted state government examinations from the framework for a year.
If the ordinance is passed, it will likely be challenged in the top court.
“The cabinet has given an opinion. Latest by tomorrow or day after, we will come to a conclusion,” Union health minister JP Nadda tweeted.
Over 650,000 candidates took the first phase of the NEET on May 1 for admission to mostly central government colleges for undergraduate and postgraduate medical and dental courses.
The second phase — which was to decide admission to around 85% of India’s 40,000-odd medical seats — is scheduled for July 24.
This phase was set to cover mostly private and state government medical seats.
Health ministry sources said private college seats earmarked by state governments will also be exempted. Different states set aside anything between 12 to
15% seats under the state quota.
“Concerns of state govts & lakhs of aspiring medical students regarding NEET being addressed,” tweeted Nadda.
On April 11, the Supreme Court ordered a single medical test, benefiting aspirants who
juggle clashing exam schedules and differing admission norms by private colleges.
The NEET was to replace a patchwork system where several states hold their own medical tests. The national test would be conducted by the Central
Board of Secondary Education in English and Hindi.
But about 15 states urged the Centre to postpone the national test as it clashed with state-board examination processes.
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“Grateful to Hon @narendramodi ji & GoI for postponing #NEET by a year! It has brought relief to lakhs of students.” DEVENDRA FADNAVIS, Maharashtra CM, tweeted after the Union cabinet decision
Students celebrate the Central government’s decision with Maharashtra education minister Vinod Tawde, in Mumbai on Friday.