‘Ban NEET’: Actor Vijay pledges support to TN Govt’s resolution to ban the exam

Significantly, this also seems to be the first time Vijay has used the term ‘Ondriya Arasu’ (Union government) in a public speech to refer to the NDA regime.
‘Ban NEET’: Actor Vijay pledges support to TN Govt’s resolution to ban the exam
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Actor-politician Vijay has slammed the (National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test) NEET saying that the exam “goes against state rights” and pledged his support to the Tamil Nadu government’s resolution to ban the exam in the state. Vijay made his statement on July 2 at a felicitation event organised by his party the Tamilaga Vetri Kazhagam (TVK) in Chennai for Class 10 and Class 12 toppers. “The truth is that poor students from rural areas, particularly those from Backward Class (OBC), Most Backward Class (MBC) and Scheduled Caste (SC) backgrounds, are hugely adversely impacted by NEET,” the actor-politician said. 

Vijay also added that there are three aspects from which NEET needs to be opposed, in his view. “First, it goes against state rights. Education was a part of the state list until 1975. It was the Union government that brought it under the Concurrent List instead. Secondly, the idea of ‘One Nation, One Exam, One Syllabus’ goes against the spirit of learning. The syllabus should be designed according to what’s best for each state.” The actor-politician further said that apart from the matter of state rights, education should prioritise giving students diverse perspectives. “Diversity is a strength and not a weakness,” he emphasised. 

Vijay also asked, “How is it right to tell students who have studied in a regional language under the state syllabus to write an exam based on the NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) syllabus? Thirdly, we have all heard of the NEET scam that has recently come to light. What we can understand from the news reports is that there is nationwide opposition to NEET. The trust in the exam is gone.  The only solution now is to ban NEET. I wholeheartedly support the anti-NEET Bill passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly.” 

This is not the first time the actor-politician has made a public statement against NEET. Like several Kollywood stars such as Suriya and GV Prakash, Vijay came out in support of anti-NEET protests that erupted in 2017 after the death of Dalit medical aspirant Anitha. At the time, he visited Anitha’s home and offered his condolences to her grieving family. 

Significantly, Vijay’s July 2 speech seems to be the first time he has used the term ‘Ondriya Arasu’ (Union government) in a public speech to refer to the NDA regime. The move, a surprise one, will bring to mind the 2021 face off between the DMK and Modi government which insisted on being referred to as the ‘Centre’ or ‘Mathiya Arasu’. The DMK had however pointed out that the Constitution consciously uses the term ‘Union’ throughout in favour of a federal form of governance. The use of the term Ondriya Arasu now in Tamil Nadu is seen as an opposition to the BJP’s centralised form of governance. 

Vijay further said in his speech: “What can be a permanent solution to this problem? Education must be brought back to the State list from the Concurrent list. In case there is any problem, as a temporary measure, the Constitution must be amended and a special Concurrent list must be made. Subjects like education and health must be brought under this list.” 

He further added, “Today, if you look at the subjects under the Concurrent list, even though it’s said that states have powers, it’s completely under the control of the Union government. States must be given full freedom instead. If the Union government wants, it can conduct NEET for their institutions such as AIIMS, and JIPMER.”

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