Following student's suicide, Tamil Nadu passes bill banning NEET
The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly on Monday passed a bill banning the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) in the state. The bill was introduced by Chief Minister MK Stalin a day after a student died by suicide, hours before he was scheduled to appear for NEET. The opposition AIADMK staged a walkout, alleging they were not allowed to discuss the suicide.
The Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Medical Degree Courses Bill reportedly seeks an exemption for the state's students from appearing for NEET for admission to the undergraduate medical degree courses. It further seeks to provide admission on the basis of marks obtained in the qualifying examination (Class XII) through normalization methods. It also seeks to provide a 7.5% horizontal reservation for government school students.
Talking about the bill, Stalin said it would ensure social justice, uphold equality, and equal opportunity. Further, he stressed that the bill would protect vulnerable students from discrimination and bring them to the mainstream of medical and dental education. Citing a high-level committee report, Stalin said, "NEET has...undermined...diverse societal representation in MBBS and higher medical studies...favoring mainly the affordable and affluent sections of society."
On Sunday, Stalin had assured to pass a bill in the Assembly to "permanently exempt" the state's medical aspirants from taking NEET. Condoling the death of the student, the CM also alleged that NEET is riddled with scams and irregularities. "Irregularity in the conduct of NEET, leak of question paper, several instances of fraud, including impersonation and students' suicides," Stalin had said.
A 19-year-old medical student was found hanging from the ceiling of his house on Sunday, hours before he was scheduled to appear for NEET. The deceased, identified as Dhanush, had appeared twice in the competitive exam before but could not attain the required score.
The student's death has triggered a political blame game in Tamil Nadu as the Opposition AIADMK is holding the ruling DMK responsible for it. Separately, the DMK is targeting the Centre, blaming it for not understanding the difficulties caused by NEET to students. The Centre's "negligence" and "obstinacy" continues to be responsible for the deaths of students by suicide, Stalin had alleged.
Following the death of the student, CM Stalin had said that the "legal battle" against NEET begins now. Demanding that "education be moved to the State List," Stalin had said, "Our struggle will continue till the Union government rescinds NEET." He also said it is an Indian subcontinent problem, and his government will reach out to other CMs seeking their support on the issue.