MK Stalin, BJP
A massive victory of the DMK and allies in the parliamentary polls and defeat of the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls is the goal, Stalin said | File photo

Tamil Nadu Assembly again adopts anti-NEET bill; BJP stages walkout

The Tamil Nadu Assembly on Tuesday (February 8) adopted again, the anti-NEET Bill, returned days ago by State Governor RN Ravi.

The resolution was adopted amid thumping of desks, and Speaker M Appavu announced that it has been adopted unanimously.

As per Article 200 of the Constitution, if the Bill is sent to the Governor for the second time, he or she has no other way but to give assent and forward it to the President of India.

The National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET) is an all-India undergraduate exam for admissions to medical courses.

The resolution for the passage of the bill was piloted by Chief Minister M K Stalin, who said that NEET exam is nothing but an exam which kills poor students.

Earlier, the BJP led by its floor leader Nainar Nagenthiran staged a walkout objecting to the move.

During the discussion over the bill, the House witnessed din twice when AIADMK’s C Vijayabaskar, Health Minister in the previous AIADMK regime, traced the origin of the NEET to the Congress-led UPA regime in 2010, a comment opposed by Congress members. Vijayabaskar said it was Congress that first used the word “NEET”. When Congress MLA Selvaperunthagai stood up to give an explanation, he was denied an opportunity to speak by the Speaker.

Selvaperunthagai  later told The Federal: “To say Congress introduced the NEET would be wrong. The Medical Council of India (MCI) is an autonomous body and the government has no power to intervene in its matters. It was during our (UPA) regime, former president of MCI, Ketan Desai, was arrested for giving permissions to private medical colleges after taking grants. It was also during the Congress regime that Supreme Court justice Altamas Kabir had struck down the idea of NEET exam.”

Selvaperunthagai added that it was after the BJP came to power in 2014 that a committee was formed headed by Dr Ranjan Roy Chaudhury and the 92nd Parliamentary Standing Committee. Both had suggested the government to have a Common Entrance Exam and not eligibility test.

Leader of the Opposition K Palaniswami said that his party colleague was only stating the fact.

The chief minister, referring to the communique of Governor Ravi on the return of the bill last week, said the reasons adduced by him were not correct.

Ravi, citing the Justice AK Rajan panel recommendations on NEET, said they were based on “guess,” but it was data-driven and based on the opinions furnished by over one lakh people, Stalin said.

Reiterating his government’s stand against the qualifying test, Stalin said “NEET is not an education system but only a system to coach medical aspirants.”

Why the Governor returned the Bill?

The document, citing Governor’s reasons for returning the Bill on February 1, was made public on Tuesday. The governor found Justice AK Rajan committee’s report on “adverse effects NEET” as “unconvincing” and “based on several unsubstantiated sweeping assumptions”.

“Statistics cited in the Report show that in the pre-NEET years only some 30-38 students (hardly 1 percent) from the Government schools were able to get admission in Government Medical Colleges. It reflects the sorry state of affairs in government schools which cater mostly to the poor students,” the governor pointed out.

The Governor’s report said the AK Rajan committee is against NEET on the ground that “it is against social justice as it favours the rich students who take advantage of coaching which the poor cannot afford”. However, it totally ignores the fact that coaching skews the State Board results also, the governor’s report observed.

“It is apparent from the above facts that the Report merely reflects the jaundiced view of the High Level Committee,” the report added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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