Raj Bhavan considering Tamil Nadu's NEET Exemption Bill
Chennai: The Tamil Nadu assembly bill exempting the State from the centralized medical entrance test, NEET, (NEET exemption bill) is under consideration of the Governor, the Raj Bhavan recently stated in a response to a Right to Information (RTI) query. The query was filed by P.B. Prince Gajendra Babu, General Secretary, State Platform for Common School System, under the RTI Act to know...
Chennai: The Tamil Nadu assembly bill exempting the State from the centralized medical entrance test, NEET, (NEET exemption bill) is under consideration of the Governor, the Raj Bhavan recently stated in a response to a Right to Information (RTI) query.
The query was filed by P.B. Prince Gajendra Babu, General Secretary, State Platform for Common School System, under the RTI Act to know the status of the bill.
Talking to IANS, Gajendra Babu said: "The response to my query on the status of the NEET exemption bill was that it was under the consideration of the Hon Governor of Tamil Nadu."
He said that the order was given on December 17 by S. Venkateshwaran, Public Information Officer of Raj Bhavan, and an Under Secretary to the Governor.
The Chief Minister's Office (CMO) and the office of the Chief Secretary are yet to respond to the query.
The bill was passed to the Raj Bhavan to forward it to the Rashtrapati Bhavan for the Presidential assent while Banwarilal Purohit was the Governor.
Earlier, Chief Minister Stalin had urged Governor R N Ravi to forward the same to the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind for his approval. Stalin called on Ravi at the Raj Bhavan and requested him to immediately send the Bill to President Kovind so as to get expeditious Presidential assent for it.
After it assumed power in May this year, the DMK government got the Bill passed in the backdrop of a Salem based medical aspirant's death by suicide. On September 13, 2021, the state Assembly passed the TN Admission to Undergraduate Medical Degree Courses Bill, 2021.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that the Tamil Nadu assembly had passed the bill to exempt the state from the MBBS/BDS entrance test, National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET) and allow admission to medical and dental courses based on Class 12 marks.
NEET was introduced in India as a centralized test for admitting medical students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. However, since its inception, Tamil Nadu has been protesting against the same as after the test was introduced more than a dozen students of underprivileged social background had committed suicide. These students belonging to remote areas were unable to access the necessary resources for clearing the entrance examination.
In June, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin formed a committee headed by retired justice AK Rajan to study the impact of NEET and the other coaching centres and found that NEET favours only the rich and the elite sections, the government said that it has hit the students from both urban and rural areas particularly those whose families earn less than Rs2.5 lakhs a year and who studied in Tamil-medium schools.
The Committee headed by retired Justice Rajan had opined in its report that NEET is against the socially disadvantageous groups, and it promotes 'coaching' culture. Besides, the report also mentioned that NEET examination, which is mainly for repeaters, "reduces confidence of the students and affects their psych." In fact, the Committee has also noted losing faith and confidence as adversely affected the number of enrolments in HSc Science stream by the Tamil Nadu students.
The Bill, referring to recommendations of a high-level committee, led by Justice AK Rajan, a retired judge of the Madras High Court said it is to dispense with the requirement of NEET for admission to UG Medical courses.
The NEET is not a fair or equitable method of admission since it favoured the rich and elite sections of society, according to the Bill's preamble. Social groups mostly affected due to NEET were the students of Tamil medium, having rural background of government schools, those having parental income of less than Rs 2.5 lakh per annum and the socially depressed and disadvantaged groups like the Most Backward Classes, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, as per the statement of objects of the Bill that quoted the findings of the panel.
The Bill is also to protect all vulnerable student communities from being discriminated and bring them to the mainstream of medical and dental education and ensure a robust public health care infrastructure across the state, particularly in the rural areas.
The panel had concluded that if NEET continued for a few more years, the health care system of Tamil Nadu would be very badly affected and there may not be enough doctors for postings in Primary Health Centres or state-run hospitals and that the rural and urban poor may not be able to join the medical courses.
Earlier, while commenting on the matter, a member of the Justice AK Rajan committee had told News 18, "those who get admitted based on NEET are primarily from urban, affluent, educated families. We found that 70% of students when they finish their PG course chose to work with private corporate hospitals. But it was not the case before the introduction of NEET. Earlier, 70% of students chose to work with government hospitals. Therefore I would say NEET is destructive, it shatters the public health system."
Barring the BJP, all other parties in Tamil Nadu are opposed to NEET and this issue became politically sensitive over the years following deaths by suicide of over a dozen medical aspirants.
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