Video of paper leak forged, no malpractice in NEET-UG: NTA cites IIT Madras report

The Union government said that a high-level committee of experts to recommend effective measures for the conduct of transparent, smooth, and fair examinations by the National Testing Agency (NTA).
Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of IndiaIANS
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The National Testing Agency (NTA) has said that there has been no abnormality which has affected the results of National Eligibility Entrance Test-Undergraduate (NEET-UG) examination based on a data analysis by the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M). 

In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, NTA said that  “the analysis shows that there is neither any indication of mass malpractice nor a localised set of candidates being benefitted leading to abnormal scores.” IIT had analysed city wise and centre wise data of 2023 and 2024  to find out if there are any abnormal indications pertaining to the NEET-UG exam on May 5. 

The Supreme Court, during an earlier hearing on July 8, asked the NTA to use data analytics within the cyber forensic unit, any expert agencies within the government or employ a suitable agency to identify suspect or suspicious cases. Following this, the Ministry of Education requested IIT-M to undertake comprehensive data analytics of the results of the entire set of candidates who appeared in NEET (UG) 2024 Examination. 

According to the affidavit, the institute carried out an exhaustive and elaborate technical evaluation of the data “using the parameters like marks distribution, city-wise and centre-wise rank distribution and candidates spread over marks-range”.

IIT-M, in its report, has noted that there is an overall increase in the marks obtained by students, specifically in the range of 550 to 720, which is spread across cities and centres, and attributed it to 25% reduction in syllabus. “In addition, candidates obtaining such high marks are spread across multiple cities and multiple centres, indicating very less likelihood of malpractice.”

The report also noted that there are only two students who secured a place within the top 100 rank in Patna, where it was alleged that a question paper was leaked. It also said that Patna showed a negative trend when it came to top 500, top 1000, top 5000 and top 60,000 ranks, with the number of toppers falling down compared to 2023.

The NTA also termed the video that purportedly showed a photo of the NEET UG exam paper leaked on Telegram on May 4 as fake. “The timestamp was manipulated to create a false impression of an early leak,” the affidavit said.

The Union Education Ministry said that it is duty bound to address the concerns of the students who have appeared in the NEET exam and is making all-round efforts to devise a solution-oriented mechanism while ensuring that, on the one hand, no candidate guilty of malpractice gets any benefit and, on the other hand, 23 lakh students are not required to be burdened with a fresh test merely based upon unsupported apprehensions.

It said that the Union government has established a high-level committee of experts to recommend effective measures for the conduct of transparent, smooth, and fair examinations by the National Testing Agency (NTA).

The seven-member committee is headed by K Radhakrishnan, former ISRO Chairman, and Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Kanpur. The Supreme Court on Thursday, July 11, posted a batch of pleas alleging irregularities in conduct of the NEET-UG examination 2024 to July 18.

To decide if a re-test should be ordered in its entirety, a bench presided over by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, in an earlier hearing held on Monday, directed NTA to make full disclosure before the apex court regarding the nature of the paper leak, the places where the leak took place, and the lag of time between the occurrence of the leak and the conduct of the examination.

It also asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to file a status report indicating the status of the investigation and the material collected during the course of the investigation.

(With IANS inputs)

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