A last minute change of plans by the state government to opt out of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) to be held in May, 2013 has been a source of relief to MBBS and BDS aspirants.
Though the state plans to get on-board only by 2014, there is strong opposition from private medical institutions which are planning to challenge the government’s decision in court as they do not want to be covered under NEET, either now or later. Five states including Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, West Bengal and Maharashtra have written to the Medical Council of India (MCI) to conduct the examination from 2014 only, citing low level of preparedness.
The government is now contemplating to write a letter requesting the MCI to consider its request to join NEET from 2014.
However, the private medical colleges in Andhra Pradesh are opposed to the examination because they see it as a violation of their constitutional rights, and also find differences in syllabus. “Andhra Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir are not protected under article 371 (A) and 371 (D), and thus can opt out of the national level examination. We plan to challenge the compulsory participation in NEET as we do not want to give 15 per cent seats to the national pool,” said Dr G. Bhaskar Rao, treasurer of the AP Private Medical Colleges Association.
However, acceptance of NEET from 2014 by the government would encompass both the government and private medical colleges in the state. Also, the colleges will have to abide by the 85 per cent reservation to locals and the rest for non-locals “The rule applies to all institutions, government or private as they fall under the umbrella of MCI. Hence, there is no question of private medical colleges opting out by conducting a separate entrance test,” said director of medical education Dr K. Vishnu Prasad.