The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday urged the Centre to dispense with NEET this year and promulgate an ordinance to facilitate admissions to medical and dental courses based on class 12 marks, as it flagged concerns about safety of students in view of COVID-19 pandemic. Holding the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test would put the lives of students at great risk of infection even if all precautions were taken, state Health Minister C Vijayabaskar said in a letter to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.
"In the current scenario, it would be very difficult for the students to actively prepare/take up NEET this year," Vijayabaskar said and recalled Chief Minister K Palaniswami had already sent a representation to Vardhan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to do away with the national test this year. The AIADMK government's latest missive came on a day when the ruling party's arch-rival DMK demanded that the state too move the Supreme Court while welcoming seven non-BJP chief ministers' decision to jointly approach the apex court for postponement of NEET and also the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE).
Vijayabaskar said: "I would like to request that the admissions to medical/dental courses for the academic year 2020-21 can be based on the marks secured by the students in their 12th standard exams by dispensing with the NEET." In his letter, a copy of which has been released to the media, he said the class 12 examinations have been conducted in Tamil Nadu and results announced already. "…the NEET examination may kindly be dispensed with and request you to direct the Ministry to promulgate an ordinance to keep in abeyance the relevant sections of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and Dentist Act 1948 and connected regulations governing the medical and dental college admissions," he said.
Citing the rising COVID infections across the country, Vijayabaskar underscored the need to cancel the NEET. Also, the Minister said Tamil Nadu as a policy had allalong been consistently opposing NEET and taking all legal and legislative steps in this connection.
The Minister's request for cancelling NEET comes against the backdrop of growing calls to dispense with the test. Supporting the demand for postponement of NEET and JEE (Joint Entrance Examination) in view of the pandemic, seven chief ministers of non-BJP ruled states on Wednesday decided to jointly move the Supreme Court on the issue.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has urged all Chief Ministers to together move the Supreme Court for postponing NEET, JEE as students are not prepared. DMK president M K Stalin, who has already urged the Centre to defer both the entrance tests, welcomed the decision of the seven chief ministers taken at a meeting convened by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and thanked her for her efforts.