Will pass legislation in assembly to exempt TN from NEET: Stalin
Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin Wednesday announced, in the Assembly, that the government will table draft legislation to get an exemption for the state from the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).
Stalin said the government was studying the legal aspects of the recommendations made by Justice A K Rajan in his report on the impact of NEET on students from economically weaker sections of the state.
“The report submitted by Justice A K Rajan is being examined legally, and a draft legislation will be brought in the ongoing budget session,” Stalin said. The common national entrance exam for medical college admissions became a reality in Tamil Nadu in 2017 following a Supreme Court order that the state has to follow the rest of the country. Until then, Tamil Nadu was admitting students based on class 12 marks. Since the introduction of NEET, more than a dozen students in the state, who belong to rural and poor backgrounds and could not access resources to crack the competitive exam, died by suicide either due to failure or fear of failing.
This is the second time that the Tamil Nadu Assembly will pass a Bill seeking exemption from NEET. The President did not give his assent to legislation passed by the previous AIADMK government in 2017. “Stalin wants to build a watertight case, and a good group of legal experts are assisting us,” a senior DMK leader said on condition of anonymity. This year, NEET is scheduled for September 12, and students have been asked to be prepared for it. “The CM doesn’t want to rush, and we don’t want to cause any confusion for repeaters this year,” the leader said.
Last year, the AIADMK brought in a horizontal reservation of 7.5% in undergraduate medical colleges for government school students who clear NEET. It ensured that government school students got 405 seats in the 2020-2021 academic year as opposed to six seats previously.
Stalin urged all political parties in Tamil Nadu to be on the same page to oppose NEET. Except for the AIADMK’s ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), all parties in the state have opposed the exam.
The A K Rajan committee received more than 87,000 representations from stakeholders, including students, parents, academicians, doctors, and the majority have rejected the conduct of NEET. The government has kept this report confidential and is expected to use the data collected to back its argument that NEET is discriminatory against rural and poor students pitted against urban and rich students. NEET offers unlimited attempts, and 70% of those taking the test are repeaters, and those against NEET have argued that this gives undue advantage to those who can afford coaching classes and repeat the annually conducted test.
The committee received representations from students, parents, academicians, doctors, and others on the impact of NEET among students from rural areas and those belonging to financially weaker sections of the society.