‘Attacking dreams of youth’: Priyanka Gandhi's swipe at Centre amid NEET-UG row | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Attacking dreams of youth’: Priyanka Gandhi's swipe at Centre amid NEET-UG row

Jun 15, 2024 08:48 AM IST

The exam, conducted by the NTA at 4,750 centres for 24 lakh students, is facing scrutiny due to allegations of leaked papers and controversial grace marks.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, speaking on the ongoing row over the alleged irregularities surrounding the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET-Undergraduate) exams, on Friday attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government stating that it began “attacking the dreams of the youth as soon as it took oath”.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (PTI)
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (PTI)

Taking to X, Vadra said: “As soon as the new BJP government took oath, it again started attacking the dreams of the youth. The arrogant response of the Education Minister (Dharmendra Pradhan) on the irregularities in the NEET exam results completely ignores the cries of 24 lakh students and their parents. Does the Education Minister not see the facts available in the public domain?”

The exam, conducted on May 5 by the National Testing Agency (NTA) at 4,750 centres for nearly 24 lakh students, is facing scrutiny due to allegations of leaked papers and controversial grace marks. There is concern because an unusually high number, 67, of students scored a perfect 720.

She also accused the government of ignoring the youth. “The question is, who does the government want to save in the system by ignoring lakhs of youth and their parents? Shouldn't the dreams of the youth stop being sacrificed at the altar of this corrupt examination system?”

In her post, Gandhi also emphasised that the government should take student and parent complaints seriously and act on them, rather than ignoring them. “The BJP government should abandon its ego and think seriously about the future of the youth and take measures to curb corruption in examinations,” she said.

NEET-UG row: NTA’s accountability will be fixed if lapses found, says Pradhan

Meanwhile, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and Congress leader Digvijay Singh demanded a probe into the irregularities in the top medical examination, adding that the entire exam should be cancelled.

“My demand is that the entire examination should be cancelled and it should be held as soon as possible and a completely impartial inquiry should be conducted into this matter under the new law passed by the Parliament and the culprits should be given the harshest punishment,” Singh wrote in a post on X.

Calling it the NEET-UG “scam”, Singh said it was “extremely serious”.

“The scam in NEET (UG)-2024 is extremely serious. This is the gigantic national form of the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh, which not only casts doubt on the functioning of the National Examination Agency (NTA) but also shows it to be faulty and full of corruption. Despite the passing of The Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill 2024 in Parliament in February 2024 and the enactment of strict laws in this regard, the nationwide scam by NTA in a major exam like NEET conducted for admission to medical colleges raises questions on the entire credibility of the government and the examination agency,” he added.

He further asked, “Should the government not seriously consider the following points? When the NEET exam was on May 5, 2024, how did its paper get leaked in Patna on May 4 itself and why did the government not take any action after an FIR was registered against the people caught in Patna on May 6? NTA had fixed the registration date for this exam from February 9, 2024, to March 9, 2024. Then this date was extended to March 16. Then what was the reason that the online registration window was opened again for one day on April 10?”

“On May 6, news was published in a newspaper in Uttar Pradesh that the students had collected money and bought the NEET question paper for 60 crore. Even after this, instead of taking cognizance of these news, how did the NTA issue a press note on May 6, 2024 and term these news as baseless? When the result of this exam comes in June 2024, how did 67 students get full 720 marks out of 720, whereas the number of students who got 720 marks out of 720 was only 2 in the year 2020, 3 in the year 2021, 0 in the year 2022 and only 2 in the year 2023. How did the number of toppers in the All India Rank-1 increase by 5625 per cent compared to last year? Isn't this unexpected,” he also said.

NEET 2024: NTA releases ‘FAQs’ amid controversy over results

Meanwhile, the NTA informed the Supreme Court on Thursday that it will cancel the scorecards of 1563 candidates who received "grace marks" in the NEET-UG exam. These candidates will be given an opportunity to retake the exam on June 23, and the results will be announced before June 30.

The NTA also mentioned to a bench of Justices Vikram Nath and Sandeep Mehta that a committee has been formed to review the results of these candidates who were given extra marks due to difficulties they faced during the NEET-UG exam. “The Committee has decided to cancel the scorecards of 1563 NEET-UG 2024 candidates who were given grace marks and these students will be given the option to take a re-test. The exam will be conducted on June 23 and the results will be declared before June 30,” it said.

Singh also questioned whether students who didn't go to court were treated unfairly.

“1,563 students went to court over the dispute of having two different answers to the questions and were given grace marks. So, was injustice not done to those students who could not go to court? How did 8 students of the same exam centre in Jhajjar, Haryana, score 720 out of 720 marks in this exam? Whereas one of these students failed the 12th grade exam? Why do all these toppers in this centre not have a surname. ,” he further asked.

He also questioned the allotment of grace marks in the exam. “If Bihar Police had investigated an examination centre in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, on suspicion of irregularities and NTA had denied a paper leak, then how did 8 students of this examination centre get 720 out of 720 marks? And how did some students of this centre get 716, 718 and 719 marks? Under which formula did the students get 718 and 719 marks? Because according to the established formula, if a student solves a question wrongly, then his 4 marks allotted for that question get reduced, and there is a minus marking of 1 mark, meaning that he can get a maximum of 715 marks for one wrong answer.”

Taking a dig at the centre, Singh said that students from Odisha, Karnataka and Jharkhand chose Gujarat as a centre. He also claimed the paper was leaked on instant messaging platform Telegram a day before the scheduled exam.

“Despite evidence of this, why did the NTA deny any wrongdoing? Why did the government not take cognizance of the allegations of students paying a bribe of 20 to 25 lakhs through an international education consultant in Gujarat? Why were Hindi medium students given English medium question papers at an examination centre in Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan? The Hon'ble Supreme Court has raised questions on the sanctity of NEET and today ordered the re-examination of 1563 students who got grace marks on June 23, 2024. This will not benefit those students who could not go to court,” he added.

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