NEET must go: TN parties join hands to seek exemption for state from exam

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Politial parties in Tamil Nadu has alleged bias against students from south India in NEET - the entrance test to medical and dental colleges.

New Delhi All parties from Tamil Nadu on Wednesday joined hands in the Rajya Sabha to demand complete exemption of the state’s students from the examination to medical and dental colleges, National Eligibility cum Entrance (NEET), alleging bias against them in the examination. The Centre said the matter was sub-judice.

The government responded to the charges saying it had given its views on the legislation passed by the state government for exempting Tamil Nadu from NEET and it was now up to the President to take a view on it.

AIADMK and DMK members also trooped in the Well of the House for a brief while and shouted slogans seeking exemption for Tamil Nadu.

Raising the issue through a zero hour mention, A K Selvaraj (AIADMK) said the state assembly had passed a legislation for exempting Tamil Nadu students from NEET but the President had so far not given his assent to it.

He claimed that 98% of the students studied the state syllabus, but the examination was based on the CBSE syllabus.

Kanimozhi (DMK) said it was not correct to state that Tamil Nadu wanted one-year exemption. “All parties (in Tamil Nadu) want permanent exemption (from NEET),” she said, adding that the state government had invested in medical college infrastructure.

A Navaneethakrishan (AIADMK) alleged that tough questions were given to students from the southern states and easy ones to those from the north. “This is discrimination,” he said.

T K Rangarajan (CPI-M) said half of the questions in the NEET examination were out of the syllabus for Tamil Nadu students

“Is this the way of cooperative federalism? State assembly passes a resolution, the Central government is not accepting it,” he asked.

Anand Sharma (Cong) wanted the Centre to make its stand clear on the state legislation.

D Raja (CPI) demanded that Tamil Nadu be given exemption from the entrance examination.

HRD minister Prakash Javedekar said the government has “taken note of every body’s pleas” and the issue was discussed with everyone.

“The matter is in advanced stage and sub-judice,” he said, adding “We have taken note of everybody’s plea.”

Health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda said the common entrance examination for all medical colleges in the country was supported by the Supreme Court and all political parties.

Last year, exemption was given but this year the NEET examination has already taken place, he said.

“We have given our views (on the legislation passed by Tamil Nadu) and also replied” to the grounds given by the state government for seeking exemption, he said. It was now up to the president to take a view on granting assent to the Bill, he said.

The government is holding talks on the matter through the ministry of home affairs, Nadda added.