Centre begins consultations with states on NEET

Nadda said the future course of action will be thought of \"soon\" as the Centre was committed to bringing in transparency.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court's order to have a single entrance test NEET for admissions to medical and dental colleges was on Monday welcomed by almost all states though some of them flagged concerns over holding it in the current year itself as Centre kicked off the consultation process on the issue.

Amid reports that Centre may bring an ordinance to bypass the apex court's ruling making NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) mandatory, Union Health Minister J P Nadda held deliberations with state health ministers on the common gateway during which some states sought more time to implement it.

Nadda said the future course of action will be thought of "soon" as the Centre was committed to bringing in transparency in medical education system and remove alleged malpractices.

Health Ministers and representatives of 18 states and Union Territories attended the meeting.

The Union Health Minister said although most states are in favour of NEET "in principle", some have talked about logistical issues that are "impeding" its implementation.

"Most States are in favour of NEET in principle. However, some states have expressed that there are some logistics issues that are impeding its implementation, and therefore they have desired for some more time.

"We will need more discussions with the state governments on the NEET issue. Today, we had discussions on language, syllabus and state governments' concerns over state medical entrance examinations. We have to solve all the problems of the states before NEET is conducted across the country," Nadda said.

He said his Ministry will apprise the Supreme Court of the state governments' apprehensions on NEET only after arriving at a conclusion.

At the meeting, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain came out in full support of the Supreme Court order and requested the Centre to implement it at the earliest to bring in reform.

The Supreme Court had ruled that starting this academic session, students would have to appear in NEET to seek admission to medical or dental colleges in the country.

The apex court order had implied that all government colleges, deemed universities and private medical colleges would be covered under NEET and those examinations which had already taken place or were slated to be conducted separately stand scrapped.

Nadda said all states agreed that the NEET was a welcome move for bringing in transparency and removing several malpractices in the field of medical education.

However, during the meeting some states said the examination process was either underway or was soon to commence for admission to various state government medical colleges.

Others referred to the issue of the syllabus of the CBSE being different from that of the State Examination Boards.

The states also said NEET should be allowed in regional languages in addition to Hindi and English to give a level playing field to students who have taken the State Board exams.

"The views and concerns of the states shall be collated and soon a future course of action shall be thought of. The Government is committed to bring about transparency in medical education and remove malpractices," he said.

Earlier this week, the apex court had turned down a batch of appeals by states seeking to conduct their own medical admission tests and ruled that "only NEET would enable students to get admission to MBBS or BDS studies".

Following the apex court's ruling, opposition parties raised concerns that students passing out from state boards in vernacular languages and living in remote areas may not be able to perform well in common entrance exam despite being competitive.

Several MPs had demanded that the government promulgate an ordinance to defer the NEET for the current academic session.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while referring to protests by many states over the Supreme Court decision on NEET had earlier today asserted that the manner of holding the test is essentially an executive matter.

"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?" Jaitley asked.

"I think this matter is essentially in the Executive domain. We now have a Supreme Court judgment. We will have to see how we deal with that particular issue," he said.

( Source : PTI )
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