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NEET will not be scrapped, will convince AIADMK: Piyush Goyal

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Union minister Piyush Goyal on April 12, who was in Chennai, said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would convince their alliance partner All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) to not scrap the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).

This comes at a time when the AIADMK – the ruling party – has been promising exemption from NEET.

Stating that the issue of NEET is resolved, Goyal said, “The demand of the Tamil Nadu people has been that NEET should be in regional language. We have accepted that and are implementing it.” Talking to reporters, he added, “I don’t think NEET should be scrapped. We will convince them (AIADMK).”

The AIADMK manifesto for the Lok Sabha election states that the party will urge the Union government to bring back education to the state list from the concurrent list.

“AIADMK will urge Government of India to exempt Tamil Nadu students for such time till they reach the standard and knowledge of the Improved New Syllabus, from NEET Examination for professional courses like MBBS, MS, MD, BPharm, MPharm, BSc Agri, MSc Agri, BSc, MSc, Dental, BE, and ME since the NEET Exams with High Standard of Syllabus, adversely affect the rural children, children of socially and economically weaker sections of the people, who constitute more than 85% of the students, who are forced to write NEET Examinations,” it states.

Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi who addressed public rallies in Tamil Nadu on April 12 claimed that the party does not want students to suffer due to NEET.

“When we were in process of preparing our manifesto, someone mentioned Anitha’s name-the young girl who ended her life because of NEET issue. So our manifesto talks about ensuring no more Anithas end their lives,” said Rahul at Salem.

In September 2017, 17-year-old Anitha committed suicide as she could not clear NEET in order to secure a medical college seat. She also waged a legal battle against the exam in the Supreme Court.

The student’s death had immediately sparked agitations in the southern state that has been opposing the entrance test being the sole basis for admissions to medical colleges on the grounds that it favoured students of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Students and various other organizations, along with political parties, took to the streets and held demonstrations demanding the scrapping of the NEET, claiming it to be discriminatory in nature.

The protests were not just against the central government, but were also targeted at the ruling AIADMK government under Edappadi K Palaniswami which was supposedly agreeing to many policy decisions of the Centre that were opposed by late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

In 2016, Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi opposing efforts to introduce NEET, as it “favoured only urban elite and not students from rural areas.”

She had said, “Tamil Nadu strongly objects to any such fresh purported attempts by the government of India to nullify the judgment of the Supreme Court by seeking introduction of NEET or by introducing it in any other name or manner, as it infringes upon the State’s rights and admission policies to medical educational institutions in Tamil Nadu.”

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