Pranab seeks more info on NEET ordinance

Pranab seeks more info on NEET ordinance

Pranab seeks more info on NEET ordinance

President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday sought additional information from the health ministry on the ordinance meant to exempt state boards from the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test.

Mukherjee asked Nadda to provide information when the health minister met the President to brief him about the proposed ordinance, which would allow state boards to hold their own entrance tests for admission to undergraduate medical and dental courses in 2016.

The meeting lasted for about half an hour during which Nadda reportedly briefed the President on states' objections on syllabus mismatch, language issues and the preparations they have made to conduct their own entrance examinations.

The additional information relates to the health ministry's position in the Supreme Court on each of the contentious points of the NEET ordinance that is sure to face a legal challenge. “The ministry has already sent information to the President,” said an official.
Neither did Nadda speak to reporters after the meeting nor did health ministry officials clarify about nature of the ordinance. So far, there is no official comment from the government on the NEET ordinance, which was cleared by the Cabinet on Friday.

However, quoting 'official sources', PTI reported that the exemption granted under the ordinance was not only for state government seats, but also the 12-15% seats in private medical colleges, earmarked under the state quota.

The ordinance was on Saturday sent to Mukherjee, who is to leave for China on Tuesday. Nadda, who was scheduled to attend a health summit in Geneva, cancelled his trip to meet the President, who also sought a legal opinion on the ordinance. Non-governmental organisation Sankalp, which dragged the government to the Supreme Court on the implementation of NEET in 2016, claimed it would challenge the ordinance once it is published.

The ordinance is aimed at partially overturning a Supreme Court order that said admission in all government colleges, deemed universities and private medical colleges would have to happen only through NEET. Several parliamentarians and 15 states have opposed the test.

“Confusion has been created by the government on the admission process to medical colleges. This has put lakhs of deserving students aspiring to be doctors in uncertainty and mental stress. That the President of India has sent the ordinance for clarifications in itself shows that there are some serious discrepancies in the ordinance,” says National Coalition on Medical Ethics, a group of senior doctors promoting ethics in medical practice.

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