Following a demand by the Students Islamic Organisation (SIO), the state health and family welfare minister Girish Mahajan on Wednesday wrote to the Centre demanding that National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) 2017 also be conducted in Urdu. A recent statement released by the Union health ministry had mentioned that NEET 2017 will be conducted in eight languages, including English, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Assamese, Bengali, Tamil and Telugu. NEET scores are used for admission to medical colleges across the country.
“168 Urdu medium junior colleges run in Maharashtra, from where around 11,000 students appear for their class XII examinations. Considering the large number of students whose first language remains Urdu, we request the government to make appropriate changes to the present rules,” read the letter addressed to Union health minister J P Nadda. An online petition filed by SIO aimed at garnering support for NEET to be conducted in Urdu has received over 2,400 supporters.
The move to conduct NEET in more languages came after the Supreme Court, in its 2016 order, made it clear that any entrance test held at a national level should be conducted in regional languages as well, especially as most state-conducted entrance exams are conducted in more than one local language. While the statement mentioned only seven regional languages and English, SIO demanded that Urdu should also be included considering students from Maharashtra as well as other neighbouring states will need the advantage.