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Will table legislation exempting TN from NEET in Assembly: Stalin

Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M K Stalin declared in the Assembly on Wednesday that the government will introduce legislation to exclude the state from the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).

According to Stalin, the administration is looking into the legal implications of Justice A K Rajan’s suggestions in his report on the impact of NEET on students from economically disadvantaged areas of the state.

‘The report submitted by Justice A K Rajan is being examined legally and a draft legislation will be brought in the ongoing budget session,’ Stalin said.

Following a Supreme Court ruling that the state must follow the rest of the country, the common national entrance test for medical college admissions became a reality in Tamil Nadu in 2017. Tamil Nadu has previously admitted students based on their class 12 grades. Since the implementation of NEET, more than a dozen students from rural and low-income families in the state have committed suicide as a result of failure or the fear of failing the competitive test.

The Tamil Nadu Assembly will pass a bill to exclude students from NEET for the second time. In 2017, the President did not sign legislation passed by the previous AIADMK administration.

‘Stalin wants to build a watertight case, and a good group of legal experts is assisting us,’ a senior DMK leader said on condition of anonymity. NEET is set to be conducted on September 12 this year and students have been advised to be prepared. ‘The CM doesn’t want to rush and we don’t want to cause any confusion for repeaters this year,’ the leader said.

Last year, the AIADMK implemented a 7.5 percent horizontal reservation in undergraduate medical colleges for government school students who pass the NEET exam. It guaranteed 405 spaces for government school pupils in the 2020-2021 academic year, up from six before.

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Stalin encouraged Tamil Nadu political parties to unite in their opposition to NEET. All parties in the state reject the exam, with the exception of the AIADMK’s partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

More than 87,000 submissions were received by the A K Rajan committee from various stakeholders, including students, parents, academics and physicians, with the majority of them rejecting the conduct of NEET. The government has kept this research under wraps, but it is likely to use the information to support its claim that NEET discriminates against rural and disadvantaged students in favour of urban and wealthy students.

NEET allows for unlimited tries and 70% of exam takers are repeaters, according to those opposed to the test. They claim that this gives undue advantage to those who can afford coaching sessions and retake the yearly administered test.

The committee heard from students, parents, professors, physicians and others on the impact of NEET on students from rural areas and those from financially disadvantaged backgrounds.


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