The Medical Council of India on Sunday crossed an important milestone in its pursuit to maintain student quality in educational institutions across the country by conducting the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).
Whatever little hope Tamil Nadu had in getting an exemption from NEET vanished a few days ago when news broke that the Centre was sitting on two bills the TN Assembly had adopted in the first week of February on making Plus Two score the sole criterion for admission. One bill on UG admissions to MBBS and BDS courses and the other on PG admissions were adopted with much fanfare by the then O Panneerselvam government shortly before he was forced to abdicate. The legislations came shortly after OPS piloted a bill on jallikattu that nullified a ban on the popular bull sport and got presidential assent. This makes one wonder if the Centre would have been as lukewarm on NEET if OPS were still in the saddle.
Around mid-April, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said NEET will apply across the country but added a proviso that TN had full freedom to provide reservation to rural students. “I have told them (TN government) that for the students of the State Board or those from a rural background, they have full freedom to have their own reservation policy,” he said. Three weeks on, TN students are still waiting for clarity from the state government on the possible “special reservation” Nadda spoke about.
On the reservation for in-service government doctors for admission to PG courses, the Madras High Court struck down the quota but let the state give extra marks in addition to the NEET score to those posted in remote or difficult areas. The government is understood to have defined public health centres in rural areas as remote or difficult for counselling that is to begin on Monday, cutting doctors posted in cities out of the picture.