From the next academic year, admissions to medical and dental courses across the country will be done through NEET. Parliament on Monday approved 2 significant bills approving NEET to a be a single common entrance test for all states.
The government said the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is designed to curb corruption by bringing in transparency, checking multiplicity of exams and to stop the exploitation of students in counselling.
According to the new system, exams to the private colleges will also be conducted under NEET, said Health Minister JP Nadda said, responding to contention by some members that it will benefit private institutions.
The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and The Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2016, approved by the Lok Sabha earlier, were passed by the Rajya Sabha by voice vote. Most of the parties in the session supported NEET, except AIADMK which argued that it will affect rural students who do no study CBSE syllabus.
Replying to a debate on these bills, Nadda said, "National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is intended to check multiplicity of exams. To bring transparency to curb corruption and to stop the exploitation of students during counselling."
Earlier students would have to travel long distances to appear for several medical entrance examinations but the new legislation will bring this to an end, he said.
Responding to apprehensions expressed by some members, particularly from Tamil Nadu where reservation is up to 85 percent, he clarified, "We are not going to touch the state quota. We will give the name, ranking, domicile and percentile; now it is for the state governments to decide and give extra marks, and give admissions to reserved categories."
Nadda said the exam will be held on the basis of the syllabus of NCERT and the under-graduate exam will be taken up by CBSE and post-graduation by the national board of examination.
"In the syllabus, we bring parity. Concerns of the state governments will be addressed. We will do standardisation of syllabus so that rural students can also be taken care of," he said. "Tests will also be conducted in regional languages," Nadda said, responding to apprehensions over the issue.
He said the Health Ministry has written to all the states seeking details about the number of students who appeared in local languages in the last three years so that the Centre can make plans accordingly.
The NEET is intended to be introduced from the academic year 2017-18.
Nadda, while replying to a host of issues raised by members, said when it comes to medical education, quality will not be compromised and quantity will be increased. The Health Minister also said efforts are being made to make the process transparent and a step in this direction is that names of the students will be declared, from among whom counselling will be done.
The Centre, which will conduct the NEET exam, will provide a national list and a state list and it is for states to decide on priorities they want to assign to rural students etc, he said. With regard to fees of private colleges in a state, the decisions would be taken by a committee headed by a retired judge, he said.
All barring Tamil Nadu accepted that NEET will be implemented, he said and added this has been done for undergraduates for 2016-17.