Tamil Nadu to bring bill seeking exemption from NEET today
The Tamil Nadu government will on Monday introduce a bill in the assembly that seeks the President’s assent to exempt the state's medical aspirant from taking the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), a day after the death of a 19-year-old sparked a political storm. Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin said on Sunday that NEET is a major issue in the country. "Another death at the altar of NEET…Tomorrow we will bring a permanent exemption bill for NEET. Let us take NEET as an issue of the Indian subcontinent," Stalin said in a Twitter post in Tamil.
The remarks by Stalin came after a 19-year-old medical aspirant was found dead at his home in Salem hours before he was to appear for the NEET exam a third time. The Tamil Nadu government recently said in a policy note that an official committee suggested the enactment of a fresh law to provide for admission to professional degrees like medicine on the basis of marks obtained in the qualifying exam and to get exemption from NEET. Bills adopted in 2017 during the previous AIADMK regime to exempt Tamil Nadu from NEET did not get the President's assent.
Political row over NEET
The student’s death led to a blame game with the AIADMK holding the DMK regime responsible and Stalin targeted the Centre for being "obstinate" on the matter. Stalin alleged that the Centre does not understand the huge difficulties caused by NEET to students and its 'negligence' and 'obstinacy' continues to be responsible for the death of students by suicide.
Condoling the aspirant's death, Stalin said "our legal struggle against NEET starts now after taking over the reins of the government." The state government has the responsibility and duty to build a good future for students and realising this, "our struggle will continue till the Union government rescinds NEET," he said. The Tamil Nadu chief minister said his government would drum up support of all other states on this issue by reaching out to his counterparts. “I have the confidence that we will win,” he said.
Leader of the Opposition K Palaniswami said in the run-up to the April 6 assembly election, the DMK claimed that the party was aware of the ways and means to "cancel NEET." He said the DMK targeted the AIADMK government over this issue, "diverted the people and also won the polls." Palaniswami, who is the AIADMK co-coordinator, said in a statement that the DMK made “tall claims” of getting Tamil Nadu exempted from NEET, mocked his party over the issue and campaigned in a way that deceived the students.
The AIADMK leader said he had time and again asked the government to clarify whether NEET would be conducted in Tamil Nadu since the DMK had made such an assurance. He said that, unlike the DMK, his party is not interested in politicising the NEET issue. "Please tell the students about the true status of NEET," he said.
A number of aspirants from Tamil Nadu have allegedly died by suicide fearing the outcome of the national test for admission to medical colleges and opposition to NEET has grown.
(With agency inputs)