Prez signs NEET ordinance after Centre’s clarification

RSTV Bureau
Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Thaawar Chand Gehlot and J P Nadda after a Cabinet meeting on Central Medical Exam NEET.  Photo: PTI

Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Thaawar Chand Gehlot and J P Nadda after a Cabinet meeting on Central Medical Exam NEET.
Photo: PTI

President Pranab Mukherjee signed the ordinance keeping state boards out of the common entrance test (NEET) on Tuesday morning after his pointed queries were clarified by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and top Health Ministry officials.

President secretariat officials said that president was more cautious on the NEET ordinance as it was virtually taking on the apex court’s order and comes after Uttrakhand ordinance was overturned by the Supreme Court.

“The President promulgated the ordinance this morning after Health Ministry officials returned with the file addressing all the queries raised by him,” said official sources.

Union Health Minister J P Nadda met the President on Monday and addressed his queries on three issues including different exams of state boards, syllabi and regional languages.

“Want to make it very clear that all private institutions and medical colleges will come under ambit of NEET. State Governments will get an opportunity to appear this year (2016-17) for under-graduate examinations,” said the Health Minister

Earlier on Sunday, President Mukherjee sought legal advice on the ordinance to keep state boards out of the ambit of uniform medical entrance examination, NEET, for this year.

The NEET ordinance cleared by cabinet on Friday exempts government run medical colleges in states from a national level common medical test. Government brought in the ordinance to relax these colleges from the Supreme Court verdict which said all government colleges, deemed universities and private medical colleges would be covered under NEET.

Different states earmark anything between 12-15 per cent seats in various private medical colleges for state quota so that students from one state can get seat in another state. The remaining seats in such colleges are reserved for domicile students, after the ordinance, the remaining seats will come under NEET.

More than 15 states were opposed to NEET and had raised issues like different syllabus and languages during the recent state health ministers’ meeting. The next phase of the exam is scheduled for July 24. Nearly 6.5 lakh students have already taken the medical entrance test in the first phase of NEET held on May 1. Once the ordinance is issued, students of state government boards will not have to sit for NEET on July 24.

They, however, will have to become part of the uniform entrance exam from next academic session, government sources said. The exam will be applicable for those applying for Central government and private medical colleges.

They said the students affiliated to state boards will find it tough to appear for the uniform test as early as July and such students will be at a loss compared to those who have followed the central board