Tamil Nadu Assembly passes Bill that opts state out NEET medical exam
On Monday, the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a very significant and at the same time controversy stirring Bill that seeks rejecting the requirement for medical courses candidates to qualify in the NEET (National Eligibility – cum – Entrance Test) to get admission to State’s undergraduate medical courses. If passed into law, The Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Medical Degree Courses Bill, 2021 would take the state back to its regulation before 2017 – admission to medical aspirants would be granted on basis of marks obtained in Class XII marks in Tamil Nadu.
The Bill was moved by TN Chief Minister M.K. Stalin in the Assembly, who contended medical courses admission was traceable to entry 25 of List III, Schedule VII of the Constitution, and that the State was “competent to regulate” it for the underprivileged groups.
Stalin led DMK party has argued that NEET examination bring more opportunity to the elite society groups and forces inequality towards the less privileged groups. Keeping qualifying examination as the admission criteria would bring equality clause in Constitution to justice. Bill’s aim is cited as bringing social justice, ensuring equality and equal opportunity to all candidates.
“It [NEET] festers inequality as it favours the rich and the more privileged class of society, who are able to afford special coaching apart from pursuing Class XII. It virtually barricades the underprivileged social groups from medical and dental education,” the Bill contended.
Main opposition party AIADMK supported the government in passing the bill but BJP members staged a walkout opposing the Bill.
“The standard of medical education is maintained during the UG course by following the syllabus and curriculum prescribed by the National Medical Commission and through exams conducted by the university before awarding the degree. Students who are not able to pass the university exams are not awarded degrees. Therefore, it is not during the admission stage that the standard of medical education is maintained,” the Bill argued.
Bill is supported by committee headed by retired High Court judge, Justice A.K. Rajan, noting NEET had “clearly undermined the diverse societal representation in MBBS and higher medical studies, favouring mainly the affluent segment of society, while thwarting the dream of the underprivileged social groups to pursue medical education.”
The Bill can only take effect from next year. This means that this year’s admissions would be based on NEET result. For almost a decade, Tamil Nadu had no entrance examinations and gave admissions on basis of Class XII results. During the UPA rule, DMK got an exemption on NEET through the President. But AIADMK failed to obtain an exemption from BJP, its ally.