The Centre has announced that the NEET-PG medical entrance exams has been postponed in view of the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in the country.
The exam was scheduled to be held on Sunday (April 18). The decision to postpone it was taken “keeping wellbeing of our young medical students in mind”, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said in a tweet posted on Thursday (April 15) evening.
“In light of the surge in COVID-19 cases, the Government of India has decided to postpone NEET-PG 2021 exam, which was earlier scheduled to be held on April 18,” he said. Dr Vardhan said the new date will be decided later.
About 1.7 lakh candidates have registered for the exam.
The National Board of Examination, which conducts the NEET exams, had issued admit cards for candidates appearing for the exam. Anticipating restrictions on movements in view of the rising number of COVID cases, it had issued an e-pass to be used by candidates in the event of curfew or lockdown to reach exam centres.
Just before the health minister’s announcement on Thursday, some candidates had move the Supreme Court seeking the postponement of the exam in view of COVID.
Stating that the Centre had decided to cancel the CBSE class X exams and postponed the class XII exams due to the pandemic, the candidates said that many lives will be at risk from COVID if doctors are made to write the exam instead of attending to the patients.
They also expressed discomfort at having to travel during the pandemic to their exam centres, which, for many, was not in their home state.
The Centre has been faced with calls from parents and opposition parties to postpone various exams, fearing for the safety of students amid the second wave of COVID, which is seeking new variants of the coronavirus.
The CBSE had said there would be no change in the exam schedule. But the education ministry announced the decision to cancel Class X exam and postpone Class XII exams after a meeting headed by the Prime Minister. The ministry will review the situation on June 1 before announcing new dates for the Class XII exam.
Many state boards have also either cancelled or postponed class X and class XII exams in view of the pandemic.