NEET 2016: Putting to rest speculations that the Centre was trying to defer National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) this year by introducing an ordinance to keep states out of ITS ambit, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda on Tuesday said the ordinance has in fact been implemented and given a statutory support taking note of the concerns put forth by the various states.
Nadda told a press briefing that President Pranab Mukherjee has given his nod to the NEET ordinance sent by the Union Cabinet for approval.
“The NEET ordinance has been given a firm statutory basis. I would like to clarify. Some sections of the media had reported that NEET has been deferred. In fact, NEET has been implemented. It has been given a statutory basis,” he added.
Nadda said the BJP-led NDA government was always in favour of NEET, and overcame many hurdles to expedite the the matter.
“In fact, it was the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, which had gone for a review petition. We even wanted an early hearing. There were several hurdles, but we got it cleared and wanted that NEET be implemented,” he added.
Nadda, however, said the respective state governments could not put forth their views properly before the Supreme Court.
“So, after the Supreme Court order, several states approached the Centre with their problems. Later, this was echoed in Parliament and various MPs also raised their concerns. Even an all-party meeting was convened on May 16 to discuss the issue,” he added.
The Health Minister further said the main bone of contention was syllabus and regional language.
“Same was discussed in all-party meeting; the view was that NEET in principle is to be implemented. But at the same time, the issue of ongoing tests of various state governments should be taken into consideration and we should also address the issue related to language and syllabus,” he added.
Nadda said the Centre came up with an ordinance after considering all concerns voiced by the states.
“We have tried to give a provision where we give an exemption to the states and an option to conduct the state examination (including those who have already conducted the exams). All private medical colleges come under the ambit of NEET. The states will get an option to either appear this year 2016-17 for undergraduate exams (or join next year). The NEET for post graduate entry will be held in December this year. The seats will be filled either by NEET or by the state exam quota. Even in the private colleges, the seats to be filled by state exams will continue to be done that way this year,” he added.
President Pranab Mukherjee has signed the ordinance, which was cleared by the Union Cabinet on May 20, to partially overturn a Supreme Court verdict which said all government colleges, deemed universities and private medical colleges would be covered under NEET.
The President had earlier sought more information and clarification on few points from the Union Health Ministry over the decision to bring an ordinance on NEET.
Nadda had yesterday met President Mukherjee to answer his questions on the need for urgency in issuing the executive order, which bypassed the Supreme Court’s ruling last month that NEET will be held across India.
Over 15 states were opposed to NEET and had raised concerns like different syllabus and languages during the recent State Health Ministers’ meeting with Nadda.
The state governments strongly objected and asked the court to review its order, saying such an exam would place regional language students at a disadvantage.
Nadda had, however, earlier said the Centre was committed to implementing the NEET as per the apex court’s order, but was also looking for ways to accommodate the concerns of the states.
The medical entrance test in the first phase of NEET was held on May 1.