The two long-standing demands of people and parties in Tamil Nadu have found a place in the Congress manifesto, that comes with just days to go for the General Elections to begin.

Congress promises to scrap NEET bring school education under state list
news Lok Sabha 2019 Tuesday, April 02, 2019 - 14:10

Congress party has promised to scrap the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), which has long been a subject of controversy, especially in Tamil Nadu. “The NEET examination is discriminatory against students from certain States. In addition, it interferes with the State Government’s right to admit students domiciled in the State to medical colleges in that State. Hence, we will take measures to dispense with the NEET examination and substi- tute it with a State-level examination of equivalent standard, approved by the competent authority for admission to medical colleges in that State,” the party’s manifesto released on Tuesday said.

The promise to scrap the medical entrance exam was made by Congress ally DMK, as well as rival AIADMK in their manifestos that were released last week. NEET has been a burning issue in TN for several years now. Late former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had ensured that NEET was not imposed on students in the state during her tenure. However, after her passing, the ruling AIADMK has not managed to get an exemption for TN students from NEET.

In 2017, medical aspirant Anitha killed herself, and in 2018 another aspirant Pradeepa, too, took her own life because they weren’t able to clear NEET despite scoring high marks in board exams. The state has been demanding the scrapping of NEET ever since, saying it is discriminatory towards students from marginalised backgrounds. NEET follows the CBSE syllabus, putting students from state board backgrounds who don’t have access to coaching classes at a disadvantage.

Congress has also stated that colleges and universities would be encouraged to award Deprivation Points to admit students from different backgrounds to ensure diversity in the classroom.

School education in state list

The party has also promised to bring school education back to the state list instead of the concurrent list in the seventh schedule of the Constitution.

“We will review the distribution of legislative fields in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and build a consensus on transferring some legislative fields from List III (Concurrent List) to List II (State List),” the manifesto said.

“Congress promises to give primacy to State Governments in subjects such as school education, primary and secondary health care, child nutrition, drinking water, sanitation and distribution of electricity, and ensure that the Central Government plays a supportive role to State Governments,” it added.

Also read: Why NEET is an election issue in Tamil Nadu

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