All parties from Tamil Nadu today joined hands in the Rajya Sabha to demand complete exemption of the state’s students from the combined medical entrance test NEET, alleging bias against them in the examination, with the Centre saying the matter was sub-judice. The government responded saying it has given its views on the legislation passed by the state government for exempting Tamil Nadu from NEET (National Eligibility and Entrance Test) 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 has so far not given his assent to it. He claimed that 98 per cent 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.
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T K Rangarajan (CPI-M) said half of the questions in the NEET examination were out of syllabus taught to students in Tamil Nadu. “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, adding it was now up to the President to take a view on granting assent to the Bill. The government is in dialogue over the issue through the Ministry of Home Affairs, Nadda added.