The unraveling of a scam involving the national entrance test for medical and dental seats — the NEET — dips with irony as Tamil Nadu has emerged as the hotbed of exam impersonation. The state was stoutly opposing the national test for long and its aspirants are now forced to take NEET for medical seats even in their own state. A handful of them have taken the wrong route to try and qualify by employing proxy candidates to write the exam for them. The racket, uncovered by an anonymous email to college authorities in rural Tamil Nadu, led to an intense investigation exposing a big impersonation racket by which a better qualified candidate takes the exam and also goes through the counseling process before the aspirant joins the college with deft handling of admission documents. The scam may have touched many states, including Kerala, where a man running a NEET coaching centre is a suspect. The Madras high court expressed the opinion that many more states could be involved.
The sanctity of holding national examinations for medical and engineering seats could be undermined by such malpractices. It is a wonder that such deception is being made possible because the system has not yet integrated methods like biometrics and facial recognition software for proper identification of aspirants. The National Testing Agency, entrusted with conducting such a crucial exam as NEET, to identify the best candidates to take up medicine and surgery as a career, has a lot to answer for. While candidates are put through the wringer for eliminating any bluetooth connectivity and “bit” notes hidden in shoes, etc, the authorities have not done enough to eliminate fraud by impersonation. There are only around 71,000 MBBS seats in the country and the supply can never meet the demand, which means that authorities have to be extra careful about eliminating fraud in the selection process.