The announcement, made during the Karnataka Budget for 2022-23, will be as part of a new scheme called 'Mukhyamantri Vidyarthi Margadarshini'.

Basavaraj Bommai presenting the Karnataka Budget
news Karnataka Budget Friday, March 04, 2022 - 21:04

Online coaching will be provided for those appearing for several competitive examinations, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced during the 2022-23 Karnataka Budget. These exams include the Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC), Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Staff Selection Commission (SSC), Banking, Railway, Combined Defence Services Examination (CDS), National Engineering Entrance Test (NEET), the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) as well as other competitive examinations. The new scheme, called the Mukhyamantri Vidyarthi Margadarshini, will be free, according to the Chief Minister’s speech.

The free coaching — including for NEET — comes at a time the exam has become a flashpoint. The issue has come to the fore after several students studying in Ukraine who are currently being evacuated are medical students. While dissenting voices to the exam have been from Tamil Nadu, former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has also said that if his party, the Janata Dal-Secular (JD(S)) is voted to power in the 2023 Assembly elections in the state, it will pass a resolution in the legislature against NEET. 

The debate on NEET started after the death of Naveen Shekarappa Gyanagoudar, the Karnataka student who was pursuing a medical course in Ukraine and died in Russian shelling. Naveen’s father, Shekarappa, had said that under the present system, his son could not get a medical seat in the state and had to go to Ukraine to study medicine, where the cost is affordable.

"We oppose NEET. It is a trap to suffocate students and fill somebody else's coffers. We will end it. Is it being treacherous to question NEET? I don't know how to react to the statement of Higher Education Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan," Kumaraswamy said. Ashwath Narayan had said that those who oppose NEET are traitors and money-minded.

"I am not running either a medical college or an engineering college. I don't even run a small scale industry. I don't have anything other than Bidadi farmland. One of the Union Ministers has insulted the students who went abroad to study MBBS by stating that they have gone there as they could not crack the entrance test here. Now, the state Higher Education Minister has gone one step ahead and labelled them as traitors and showed his true colours," he maintained.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin has also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asserted again that NEET is a stumbling block to pursuing medical education within the country and underscored growing support against it. He said that the government should stop 'blaming' students and focus on evacuating them from Ukraine.

Yet again reiterating the Tamil Nadu government and DMK's staunch opposition to NEET, Stalin said the national test is a stumbling block to pursuing medical education within the country. Hence, getting NEET rescinded must be the immediate goal, he said and expressed grief over the deaths of two Indian students in Ukraine. "That goal is not far away. Let us together struggle and win," he said in a statement. 

NEET prevented poor, ordinary and middle class students from getting medical education and the struggle to get it cancelled is to remove that danger, he said adding the Ukraine crisis has now reinforced it and has given a very strong reason for cancelling it. The demand is for the benefit of not only Tamil Nadu students but across the country, he said. 

Students who went to Ukraine were persons who could not pursue medical education domestically and it is the paramount duty of PM Modi to warn his cabinet colleagues and pro-BJP people from making comments that trivialised their struggle, he said.

With inputs from agencies

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.