Anger against NEET builds up, Karnataka mulls anti-NEET Bill like TN

In the face of on-going protests across the country, the Supreme Court granted two weeks to the National Testing Agency (NTA) to respond to the various allegations of irregularities.
Karnataka Deputy CM DK Shivakumar
Karnataka Deputy CM DK ShivakumarFile Photo
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Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar told media persons on June 19 that the state government is considering a move to scrap the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET). He said, “We are discussing going the Tamil Nadu way. We are opposing NEET, which is a big scandal. Our people have built institutions in the state, but they are unable to provide seats to students belonging to their communities. We need a national discussion on this.”

The Karnataka government’s stance comes in response to the nation-wide outrage against NEET after allegations of question paper leak, discrepancies in marking, and arbitrary administrative decisions that negatively impact students came to light. The Economics Offences Unit (EOU) of the Bihar police has now booked 10 medical aspirants apart from parents and other accused for buying NEET question papers ahead of the exam for Rs 30 lakhs to Rs 50 lakhs. 

Addressing the media, Shivakumar referred to Tamil Nadu’s bill to scrap NEET in the state.  In 2021, after the DMK came to power in Tamil Nadu, a commission headed by retired Justice AK Rajan was set up to probe the impacts of NEET on students. The commission found that NEET fails students from Tamil medium schools and government schools, putting at a disadvantage those students from poor backgrounds, while favouring CBSE syllabus students, and those who can afford the costs of additional private tuitions. The report also revealed that NEET coaching centres had become a  Rs 5,750 crore industry in the state. 

In an interview to TNM, Justice AK Rajan had also pointed out how NEET will ultimately break down the public health system in the state.

Based on the report, the Tamil Nadu Assembly unanimously passed a Bill to ban NEET, only for governor RN Ravi to withhold consent for months before returning the Bill to the Assembly for reconsideration.  In February 2022, the Assembly readopted the Bill without any amendments, making it only the second such event that had occurred in the Tamil Nadu Assembly in 70 years. 

The Bill was forwarded to President Droupdi Murmu in May after multiple tussles between the DMK and Governor Ravi. The Governor chose to delay the process, despite it being constitutionally mandated that he give his assent if a Bill is returned to him a second time without amendments and then pass it on to the President to sign. The Bill is still pending with the President. 

Meanwhile, in the face of on-going protests across the country, the Supreme Court granted two weeks to the National Testing Agency (NTA) to respond to the various allegations of irregularities. The SC also ordered the tagging of the plea it was hearing along with the pending batch of petitions, coming up for hearing on July 8. 

Earlier, on June 18, DK Shivakumar also raised the issue of EVM tampering and called for a return to paper ballots. “EVMs should go and paper ballots should return,” he said. His statement came hours after former Andhra Pradesh CM and YSRCP chief Jagan Mohan Reddy echoed similar sentiments against the use of EVMs.

Also read: 

Explained: The allegations of scam surrounding NEET UG 2024 

NEET UG: Haryana candidates given extra time say it didn’t benefit them due to test format

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