Tamil Nadu’s concern over the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) is not new. It has been sceptic about NEET being a mandate for the admission to medical courses ever since the initiation of this entrance examination. However, the concerns raised by the state have escalated to the next level this year. Several parties are planning to carry out protests against the same. Their point is that the students appearing for CBSE board will have an edge over the students from the state boards. Many other states have also raised this issue.
Members of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) brought up the issue of different NEET question papers being given in regional languages for the states of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. Owing to these issues the students from these states lose out on the medical college seats.
A report published in one of the leading newspapers in India recently claimed that the number of students from the other states securing MBBS seats based on nativity quota set by the government is likely to go up to around 500 this year if the state gives admission based on NEET. Last year it was merely 47 which make for an 11 fold increase.
“We will spend our people’s money, build quality medical institutions. You will come from other states, take our seats under NEET, study and go back to your state. Why should we run such institutions and spend our people’s money for you?” questioned Anbumani Ramadoss, leader of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK). To oppose NEET the party held a hunger strike last week.
The Edappadi K. Palaniswami government had passed two bills in the state assembly. These were for the state’s exemption from NEET. However, these are still pending for presidential assent. As per the DMK, BJP is to be blamed for holding the bills. It states that the party has disrespected the rights of the state. Talking about the same, the CPM leader T.K. Rangarajan questioned, “Is this the way of cooperative federalism? State assembly passes a resolution, the central Government is not accepting it.” He said that almost half of the NEET question paper was not from the syllabus covered in the Tamil Nadu schools.
Showing his anger on the issue M. K. Stalin, the president of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) said, “Due to the ignorance of the AIADMK government and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s policies against social justice, NEET has entered Tamil Nadu and poured cold water on the medical aspirations of the state’s students.”
In an attempt to oppose NEET, DMK plans to form human chains throughout the state. Other parties including Congress, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Communist Party of India (CPI) will also join hands with them to further the protest. Protests shall also be carried out in front of the central government offices.
Around the beginning of July, the Madras high court overruled the Tamil Nadu government order that demanded 85% seat reservation for Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) and Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) for the state board students and 15% for those from CBSE and other boards.
Owing to the requests made by states like Tamil Nadu last year a law granting exemption from NEET was made only for the government colleges. However, this was just for a year. Let us see if the state is able to get its demands fulfilled this time round!