Centre cancels UGC-NET exam citing 'compromised' integrity; Congress calls it 'paper leak government'

Education Ministry's decision comes amid a massive row on the medical entrance exam NEET over alleged irregularities; Congress accuses Modi government of playing with the future of the youth.
Aspirants search their roll numbers for seats before entering an examination center to appear in the UGC-NET exam, at AN college in Patna, Tuesday, June 18, 2024.
Aspirants search their roll numbers for seats before entering an examination center to appear in the UGC-NET exam, at AN college in Patna, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: The Education Ministry on Wednesday ordered the cancellation of the UGC-NET conducted by the National Testing Agency following inputs that the integrity of the examination may have been compromised and the matter has been handed over to the CBI for a thorough investigation, officials said.

The decision by the Ministry comes amid a massive row on the medical entrance exam NEET over alleged irregularities, with the issue now before the Supreme Court.

In a shift from earlier practice, the National Eligibility Test (NET) was conducted in pen and paper mode this time on a single day (June 18), with a record 11 lakh students registering for the exam.

A fresh examination shall be conducted, for which information shall be shared separately, a senior Ministry of Education (MoE) official said.

UGC-NET is a test to determine the eligibility of Indian nationals for the award of junior research fellowships, appointments as assistant professors, and admission to PhD in Indian universities and colleges.

"The UGC received certain inputs from the National Cyber Crime Threat Analytics Unit of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) under the Ministry of Home Affairs on the examination. These inputs prima-facie indicate that the integrity of the aforesaid examination may have been compromised," the senior official said.

"To ensure the highest level of transparency and sanctity of the examination process, it has been decided that the UGC-NET June 2024 examination be cancelled."

"A fresh examination shall be conducted, for which information shall be shared separately. Simultaneously, the matter is being handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for thorough investigation in the matter," the official added.

Soon after the cancellation of UGC-NET, the Congress on Wednesday dubbed the Modi government a "paper leak government" and asked whether the education minister would take responsibility now.

The Congress alleged that the Modi government is playing with the future of the youth. "Yesterday UGC-NET exam was conducted in various cities of the country. Today the exam was cancelled on suspicion of paper leak. First NEET paper was leaked and now UGC-NET paper. The Modi government has become a 'paper leak government'," the party said on X.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge also attacked the government over the alleged irregularities in the medical entrance exam NEET and asked when Prime Minister Narendra Modi would hold "NEET pareeksha pe charcha."

In a post in Hindi on X, Kharge said, "Narendra Modi ji, you discuss exams a lot, but when will you hold 'NEET pareeksha pe charcha'. Cancellation of UGC-NET exam is a victory of the passion of lakhs of students," he said.

"This is the defeat of Modi government's arrogance, due to which they made a despicable attempt to trample the future of our youth," he added.

Kharge said the Union education minister first says that no paper was leaked in NEET, but when arrests of education mafia were made in Bihar, Gujarat and Haryana, then the minister "accepts that some scam" has happened. "When will NEET exam be cancelled?" he asked.

"Modi ji, take responsibility to stop your government's rigging and paper leak in NEET exam too," Kharge said.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra slammed the government after the Education Ministry ordered the cancellation of UGC-NET and asked for accountability to be fixed. Priyanka also alleged that the BJP government's "corruption and laxity" is harmful for the youth.

"After the news of scam in NEET exam, now the NET exam held on 18th June has also been cancelled due to the fear of irregularities. Will accountability be fixed now? Will the Education Minister take responsibility for this laxity?" Vadra asked in a post in Hindi.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI)

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com