Major political parties today favoured deferring implementation of Supreme Court-ordered NEET as the sole medical and dental entrance test by at least a year as the Centre kicked off consultations on the issue, asserting the matter was essentially in “executive domain”.
As the parties addressed concerns by several state governments, which wanted their exams to be the basis for admission for their 85 per cent quota seats for this year too, Union Health Minister J P Nadda made it clear private medical colleges and deemed universities cannot have their entrance exams and will have to take students through the NEET route.
After separate meetings with State Health Ministers and political parties on the Supreme Court order, the government said it was in favour of implementing NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) but it has to take on board the issues being raised by the states on holding a common gateway test from this year itself.
Separately, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while referring to protests by many states over the Supreme Court order asserted that what should be the manner of holding the examination across the country is essentially an executive matter as it is in policy domain.
While Nadda chaired the consultations with the state health ministers, Jaitley presided over the meeting with the political parties. The consultations came amid reports that Centre may bring an ordinance to bypass the apex court’s ruling making NEET mandatory from this year.
“We are in favour of implementation of NEET. We are trying to address the issues of states. There are mainly three concerns of the states. All states have different syllabus and therefore a common syllabus needs to be formed so that students can prepare accordingly.
“Secondly, the exams should also be conducted in regional languages wherever required and lastly the ongoing exams of the states needs to be looked at,” Nadda said after the all- party meet tonight.
Nadda said the Supreme Court’s order was welcomed by almost all states but some of them flagged concerns over holding it in the current year itself
The Health Minister said the future course of action will be formulated “soon” as the Centre was committed to bringing in transparency in medical education system and remove alleged malpractices.
Earlier, during an interaction with the media, Jaitley said, “It is the case of some of the states that boards are unequal, their languages are dissimilar. Can those who are dissimilar in language and unequal be placed on the pedestal of quality and asked to give the same exam?
“I think this matter is essentially in the executive domain. We now have a Supreme Court judgement. We will have to see how we deal with that particular issue,” Jaitley told reporters. Several states want NEET to be implemented only from the 2017-18 academic session.
Jaitley, however, said the judiciary and executive are “on the same page” over maintaining the fairness and integrity of exams at all costs.