CHENNAI: Dashing the hopes of thousands of medical aspirants in Tamil Nadu who were hoping to get an exemption from the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), Union Health Minister JP Nadda categorically ruled out any such breather.
Instead, he returned the hot potato back to the State, urging it to provide special reservation to students from State board and from rural areas — an almost impossible recommendation as similar attempts in the past were blocked by the courts.
Tamil Nadu Assembly had adopted two bills seeking to exempt students from the State from appearing for NEET, which was sent to the President for his assent. The President’s secretariat sent these bills to the concerned ministries seeking opinion. Speaking to reporters here, Nadda said his ministry has made it clear that the examination process has to be implemented uniformly.
“Tamil Nadu government feels that the students coming from the rural background will (find NEET difficult). I have told them that for those coming from State board or from rural background, they have got full freedom to have their own reservation policy. Give special reservation so that these students are taken in,” he said.
However, experts here pointed out that courts have already struck down such moves to provide reservation to students from rural background. “TN had earlier given 15 per cent reservation in medical and engineering seats for the students from rural backgrounds, which was later increased to 25 per cent. But a section of students challenged this at the Madras HC, which struck it down.
The decision was upheld by the Supreme Court, too,” said Dr GR Ravindranath, general secretary of Doctors Association for Social Equality.