NEET UG 2024: Committee to recheck results

Hyderabad: Following allegations of irregularities in the NEET-UG, the entrance test for medical course, the Director General of National Testing Agency, which conducted the exam, said on Sunday that a four-member panel headed by a former UPSC chairperson will be formed to address the issues surrounding the ranks of 1,600 students.

More than 23.3 lakh students took the exam on May 5. The results were declared on June 4, the day of the Lok Sabha results, and students and stakeholders immediately alleged a discrepancy in marks.

Sixty-seven students secured the first rank and scored 720, including six from the same centre in Haryana. NEET has four marks for a correct answer and one negative mark for the wrong answer. It was alleged this formulation would make it impossible for students to score 718 or 719 marks which some candidates had received. The NTA has said that this was due to grace marks awarded by the NTA due to a question they attempted in physics which apparently had two correct answers.

Responding to these allegations, NTA Director-General Subodh Singh said that the result of NEET candidates who have been awarded grace marks might be revised but the admission process will not be impacted.

The panel will submit the report within a week, Singh said. "We have analysed everything transparently and then declared the results. The integrity of this exam was not compromised at any cost," he said.

Clarifying the allotment of marks, Singh said, "There were certain issues raised by the candidates. There were issues at about six centres affecting around 1,600 candidates because of the wrong distribution of the question paper. Candidates alleged that they got less time. We have replied in the High Court that we have formed a grievance redressal committee of experts. This committee will look into the details of the time lost, including the reports from the centre, CCTV footage, etc."

Regarding the complaints of paper leaks in Bihar, the DG said that the agency had conducted a retest in those centres with different question papers the same day. The NTA had said on May 6 that there was no paper leak.

The NTA had claimed that the distribution of wrong question papers at an exam centre in Rajasthan had led to some candidates walking out with the papers. Again, the agency had denied any leak of the question paper.

There have been calls from several quarters for a re-exam, alleging that the grace marks awarded to make up for the loss of time at six exam centres had led to the inflation of marks and adversely affected the chances of other candidates.

These centres were located at Meghalaya, Bahadurgarh in Haryana, Dantewada and Balodh in Chhattisgarh, Surat in Gujarat and Chandigarh.

The Aam Aadmi Party has demanded a Supreme Court-monitored SIT probe into the alleged irregularities and the Congress has alleged that paper leaks, rigging and corruption have become an integral part of many examinations.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has renewed his long-standing demand for the abolition of the examination. The Maharashtra government has sought immediate cancellation of the NEET.

According to experts, the mark inflation in NEET UG 2024 result is expected to make securing a spot in medical school this year more difficult. Some aspiring students have turned to online platforms to demand the cancellation of the results and a re-examination.

Asked about whether the exam will be re-conducted for certain students, the NTA DG said, it will be decided depending upon the committee's recommendations. “The idea is to ensure that students who lost time or other students are not at any disadvantage,” Singh said.

The NTA DG reiterated that the increase in cutoff reflected the competitive nature of the examination and the higher performance standards achieved this year.

“The number of candidates who appeared in 2023 was 20,38,596 while the number of candidates who appeared in 2024 increased to 23,33,297. The increase in candidates naturally led to an increase in high scorers due to a larger pool of candidates,” he said.

Explaining the rationale behind the awarding of grace marks, Singh said, the process has been completed using a formula devised and adopted by the Supreme Court in a 2018 judgment.

The concerns raised by the candidates through writ petitions and representations about loss of examination time was ascertained and 1,563 candidates were compensated for the loss of time, and the revised marks of such candidates vary from -20 to 720 marks. Amongst these, the score of two candidates also happens to be 718 and 719 respectively due to compensatory marks,” the official added.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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