The Tamil Nadu government on Monday, 13th of September passed The Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Medical Degree Courses Bill, 2021 (Anti-NEET bill), the CM MK Stalin seeking a permanent exemption for students from the NEET exams.
The bill which was introduced by the Chief Minister, MK Stalin, is supposed to bring back the old ways by which seats in the undergraduate medical courses were offered before the NEET came into existence.
The bill seeks to allot seats for undergraduate medical courses to students in government and private institutions according to their class 12 marks. In addition to the mode of how a student can get a seat in a medical course, the government also brought a 7.5% preference for students in a government school, to keep parity with social justice.
“The Bill has been tabled to use Class 12 public exams marks for undergraduate medical seat allotment after considering the recommendations by the High-level committee and to safeguard social justice, equality, to protect the affected children, and to create a strong health infrastructure especially in the rural areas,” Stalin said.
The new bill was framed after Justice (retired) AK Rajan’s committee submitted feedback from the assessment of NEET’s impact on the socially backward and rural population. According to the reports from the committee, NEET has not been a “neutral” exam and has effectively shattered the hope of many from the poor social and economic classes. Further, it was assessed that NEET is an examination that is in favour of the economically strong, who can opt for expensive courses and beyond school training. Lastly, the committee also declared that the assumption that NEET adds to the quality of medical education is false since enrollment itself cannot be the basis of gauging the quality of education.
The bill further says the students who are most affected by the NEET examination are from Tamil medium government schools with a rural background, those having parental income less than Rs 2.5 lakh per annum and the socially depressed and disadvantaged groups such as most backward classes, SCs, STs.
It also adds the committee’s recommendation also entails, “recommended among others that the state government may pass an Act, similar to that of the Tamil Nadu Association in Professional Educational Institutions Act, 2006, indicating the need for the elimination of NEET at all levels of Medical Education and get the President’s assent for the same”.
The CM taking note of the committee’s verdict said, “Tamil Nadu Government has decided to uphold social justice, equality and equal opportunity.”
All parties in the Tamil Nadu state assembly, including the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), voted in favour of the bill, except the Bharatiya Janata Party who staged a walkout in protest of the bill being passed.
Opposition to the NEET has been a long-standing issue in Tamil Nadu, because of the belief that it favours students from a certain section of society and is against those who are from socially and economically backward classes. Not just Tamil Nadu, other states like Andra, West Bengal, Karnataka, and Gujarat also protested the introduction of NEET, when it was held in 2013. However, only Tamil Nadu continues to hold its ground in opposition.
The bill was tabled a day after a 20-year-old boy died of suicide in Salem Tamil Nadu, just hours before taking the NEET exams. Which had sparked a political row against the incumbent government’s unclear position towards the NEET examinations.
-Supratik Mitra (13/09/21)