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Tamil Nadu assembly passes NEET bills

Tamil Nadu has passed a legislation exempting students from the state from taking the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical and dental colleges across the country.

education Updated: Feb 02, 2017 16:50 IST
KV Lakshmana
Tamil Nadu has passed a legislation exempting students from the state from taking the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical and dental colleges across the country.
Tamil Nadu has passed a legislation exempting students from the state from taking the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical and dental colleges across the country.(Arvind Yadav / HT file)

Tamil Nadu has passed a legislation exempting students from the state from taking the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical and dental colleges across the country.

The assembly took up the Tamil Nadu Admission to MBBS and BDS Courses Bill 2017, on Wednesday, seeking to do away with any entrance test for medical and dental college admissions.

The bill, tabled on Tuesday by state health minister C Vijaya Baskar, seeks to admit students to undergraduate medical courses based on their marks in Class 12 board examinations.

Similarly, in another bill, the state government sought to admit students to post-graduate courses in medical and dental colleges on the basis of marks in the qualifying examinations rather than any entrance examination.

The two bills were passed in the assembly and were supported by all political parties.

DMK working president MK Stalin demanded a few days back that the government ought to bring the relevant bills to exempt students in Tamil Nadu from NEET in the current assembly sitting, which closes on February 4.

Now, the passage of the two bills on the day the Union finance minister proposed National Testing Service (NTS) to free up various agencies like the CBSE, IITs, IIMs and the AICTE that conduct examinations for admissions to medical, engineering and business colleges across the country, throws up an interesting situation.

Tamil Nadu, like many other states, is opposing NEET on the grounds that this examination would put its students from rural backgrounds and from Tamil medium schools at a disadvantage. There is a consensus among political parties that are unanimously opposed to the move by the centre.

Sudha Ramalingam, a senior advocate at Madras high court who has been following the issue said it was something that was expected from the Tamil Nadu government to safeguard and protect the interests of its students.

“It is a populist step of the state government that viewed the NEET as an instance of intrusion into its own domain. But since the subject is on the concurrent list, it remains to be seen if the centre has a view on this Tamil Nadu bill that seeks to bypass a central law that has the sanction of the Supreme Court,” she added.

Late chief minister J Jayalalithaa had strongly opposed NEET, which was sought to be introduced in the last academic year. The Centre had promulgated an ordinance last year to exclude Tamil Nadu from the common entrance exam, but this academic year, all students seeking admission to medical colleges must pass the NEET.

The Tamil Nadu government has taken a number of steps, starting from 2005 towards systematising the admission process to medical colleges. It also abolished entrance examinations for professional undergraduate courses in the state, by enacting the Tamil Nadu Admission in Professional Educational Institutions Act, 2006.

The Central Board of Secondary Education will conduct NEET May 7.