NEET-UG 2024: Calls for transparency, state control amid allegations of malpractice

Controversy continues to evoke diverse views from students, parents; demand for action to ensure transparency in medical admissions across India gets louder
Calls intensify for transparency in NEET-UG 2024 amid allegations of malpractice, including a paper leak and controversial grace marks.
Calls intensify for transparency in NEET-UG 2024 amid allegations of malpractice, including a paper leak and controversial grace marks.Express illustrations

VIJAYAWADA: The alleged malpractices in the conduct of the NEET-UG 2024 exam have raised significant concerns among students and parents, affecting both top performers and those who qualified. The controversy began with the awarding of grace marks to 1,563 students and escalated due to allegations of a paper leak.

As counselling dates approach, tension among students is increasing daily, especially since the Supreme Court postponed the case hearing to July 8. The controversy continues to evoke diverse opinions and calls for action to ensure transparency and fairness in medical admissions across India.

Previously, the purview of the conduct of entrance examinations was under State government jurisdiction, but the Central government’s decision to conduct nationwide NEET has faced opposition from States like Tamil Nadu.

B Jahnavi from Visakhapatnam, who secured 326 marks, demanded the release of the list of 1,563 students who benefitted from the grace marks allocated by the National Testing Agency (NTA).

She emphasised that the re-exam, scheduled for June 23, must be conducted by another agency instead of NTA for all 1,563 students without any clauses and appealed that no grace marks should be added in the future for any reason.

Jahnavi accused the NTA of concealing information to protect themselves and alleged that fraud had been committed the previous day of the exam, which the NTA was aware of. She expressed her doubts about how the 1,563 students would be able to appear for the re-exam within the time given by the NTA, given that the exam is scheduled for June 23 and the results are to be announced on June 30.

Speaking to TNIE, Member of Legislative Council (Krishna-Guntur Teachers Constituency ) KS Lakshmana Rao emphasised India’s federal structure and criticised the Centre’s control over the education system. He supported conducting examinations like NEET at the state level and echoed Tamil Nadu’s demands. Rao called the situation a failure of the Centre and National Testing Agency (NTA), urging a thorough investigation into the allegations and advocating for a possible re-conduct of NEET to ensure fairness for talented students, following the Supreme Court’s directives.

Dr AN Radhakrishna Yadav, a Professor in Pediatric Dentistry, expressed deep concern for the 24 lakh students affected by the irregularities in the exam. He told TNIE that he supported students’ calls to abolish NTA, citing evidence of malpractice, such as unusual patterns where several students from the same exam centre scored full marks. Yadav urged State governments to take a firm stance against such irregularities and recommended considering a re-examination to uphold integrity.

Speaking to TNIE, AP Medicos Parents Association State President Dr Ala Venkateswarlu dismissed the possibility of a NEET re-exam due to students’ unwillingness to go through the labour of preparing for one of the toughest exams in India.

Stating that the alleged malpractices in conducting Neet in other States have affected the students across the nation, particularly the students of Telugu States, Venkateswarlu proposed cancelling the national pool of 15% this year to prioritise local talent. This move would reserve the national quota of 400 medical seats in Andhra Pradesh to State rankers.

Pointing out anomalies in the exam results where 67 candidates scored 720 out of 720, unprecedented in previous years, he highlighted the possibility of paper leakage impacting the fairness of NEET.

Venkateswarlu highlighted that every year students from both AP and Telangana secure 15 to 20 ranks within all India's top 100 ranks, but this year they secured only four ranks.

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