NEET:  Tamil Nadu sees drop in students’ enrolment, State seeks exemption

The enrollment of candidates for the National-Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (UG) from Tamil Nadu this year has seen a significant drop. The state-wise distribution of candidates and centres shared by the National Testing Agency (NTA) shows there were 1,34,714 candidates in 188 centres last year whereas there are 1,17,990 candidates in 238 centres this year.

Many parties in Tamil Nadu have protested as they believe students from the CBSE board have an advantage over those from regional boards in various states, especially Tamil Nadu. The students have also expressed apprehension over losing out to aspirants from other regions.

The state assembly under the Edappadi K Palaniswami government had passed bills in 2017 to scrap NEET. The President’s approval is still awaited.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar wrote to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday, seeking cancellation of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and stating that conducting the exam amid the pandemic “would put the lives of the students attending it at great risk of infection”.

He demanded that the Centre allow admissions to medical courses on the basis of students’ marks in Class XII board exams.

The letter to Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Health and Family welfare, said “it would be very difficult for the students to actively prepare/take up NEET examination this year” citing the “current scenario.”

The Tamil Nadu government has requested the Centre to scrap NEET or at least exempt students from the state from attending that exam if they were held, Minister K A Sengottaiyan said on Wednesday.