The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday, January 8 hosted a meet to scrap the medical entrance exam — National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). All political parties in Tamil Nadu, except for BJP were present at the meet and resolved to wage a unified legal battle to completely abolish the entrance. The meeting was chaired by Chief Minister M K Stalin.
The resolution passed by 12 political parties said, “The Centre has deprived the State government of the right to decide on the manner of admitting its students to the State-run medical colleges. This is against state autonomy.” The meeting was attended by the opposition AIADMK as well.
BJP Mahila Morcha national president and Coimbatore South legislator Vanathi Srinivasan demanded a white paper on the status of admission of poor students to medical colleges and fee structure stating that DMK and other parties gave a picture that the BJP had introduced NEET.
“It was introduced by the Congress-led UPA government in which the DMK was a constituent. The BJP does not agree with the NEET exemption resolution,” she said after staging a walkout from the meeting. She claimed that 69 per cent of reservations are followed in Tamil Nadu which ensures social justice and the allegation that NEET was discriminatory does not hold water.
Tamil Nadu government had earlier passed a Bill to scrap NEET and had been opposed to the national level entrance exam for some time now. It deprives those of underprivileged backgrounds and puts enormous pressure on them, the government had said.
The government had forwarded the bill to the governor to be sent to the president for his assent, however, the former had not sent the bill, said Stalin. “Not sending this bill to the President is considered unbefitting to the sovereignty of the legislature,” the resolution said.
During the recent meeting, the CM asked that “how can we accept the two-hour exam called NEET after plus two? Isn’t this social injustice? How many can afford to spend a huge sum for NEET coaching?”
“NEET is the problem of Tamil Nadu – the problem of our students. In a country like India where the poor live, where there is inequality in the name of caste, the biggest and most difficult thing is to access education,” said Stalin.
Legal experts will be consulted for necessary measures to completely abolish the NEET, Stalin said. During the meet, it was resolved that all political parties would work in unison and make all necessary efforts to ensure a consensus so that other states in the country can realise the disadvantages of NEET, the resolution said.
“Nearly 12 out of 13 political party leaders who participated in the meeting resolved to meet the Union Home Minister on demanding exemption from NEET and also to consult legal experts on how to proceed with the legal battle,” Health and Family Welfare Minister Ma Subramanian said.
Earlier, the MK Stalin-led DMK government had formed a panel headed by retired justice AK Rajan to study the implications of the NEET on aspirants from the socially backward sections in Tamil Nadu. According to it, NEET favoured those students who have access to coaching and are inclined towards the CBSE syllabus.
— with inputs from PTI