Health Ministry postpones NEET-PG examination hours before test

Fresh date for this examination will be notified at the earliest, health ministry said; CBI to probe NEET fiasco.

BySumit Jha

Published Jun 22, 2024 | 11:59 PM Updated Jun 23, 2024 | 12:02 AM

NEET result

The NEET-PG entrance examination scheduled for Sunday, 23 June, has been postponed, said the Union Ministry of Health.

A fresh date for this examination will be notified at the earliest, it said.

“This decision has been taken as a precautionary measure to ensure the fairness and credibility of the NEET-PG Entrance Examination,” it said in a statement.

Taking into consideration, the recent incidents of allegations regarding the integrity of certain competitive examinations, the Ministry of Health has decided to undertake a thorough assessment of the robustness of processes of the NEET-PG Entrance Examination, conducted by the National Board of Examination for medical students.

It added that the department sincerely regrets the inconvenience caused to the students. This decision has been taken in the best interests of the students and to maintain the sanctity of the examination process.

Related: SC refuses to defer NEET counselling

Students’ bodies miffed

The eleventh-hour decision to postpone the exam has left the student bodies miffed.

“This last-minute decision is nothing short of a crisis for thousands of dedicated MBBS doctors who have spent months, if not years, preparing for this pivotal moment in their careers,”  United Doctors Front Association Dr Lakshya Mittal told South First.

“This abrupt change, coming close on the heels of the NEET-UG scam, underscores a deeply troubling pattern in the handling of medical examinations and the overall medical education system in India,” he said.

He added that the impact of the decision on the mental health and morale of aspiring doctors cannot be overstated. “These individuals are the backbone of our future healthcare system, and they deserve better than this chaotic and unprofessional treatment,” Dr Mittal opined.

Also Read: Congress’s nation-wide protest against NEET-UG and its four demands

Future of Indian healthcare

“This is not just about an exam; it is about the future of Indian healthcare and the respect and support we owe to those who have chosen this noble profession,” he stated.

Playing with the mental well-being of medical aspirants and newly joined doctors is unacceptable. It is high time that we ensured stability, transparency, and reliability in our medical examination processes to uphold the integrity of our medical profession and to nurture the next generation of doctors,” Dr Mittal said.

A representative of the FAIMA Doctors Association felt that the recent NTA scam has dented the system. “And based on this view, the Government has made this decision. But the worst part is that the decision came 12 hours before the exam, which is a traumatic experience for aspirants and parents as well,” he said.

“This is a pathetic harassment of all the doctors who have travelled across different cities, spent money on accommodations, and sacrificed their precious time preparing for this exam. How can the government be so incompetent in managing an exam that was planned months in advance? This is beyond frustrating and unacceptable. The ministry owes us a detailed explanation and immediate rescheduling,” another FAIMA representative said.

Related: NEET aspirants say little faith in NTA, want retest for all

SFI wants Pradhan sacked

The SFI, the students wing of the CPI(M) condemned the postponement, saying: the shameless NTA has proven incompetent once again.”

We, the Students’ Federation of India, Central Executive Committee, strongly condemn the ongoing anti-student activities perpetrated by the Union Ministry and the NTA. Sacking the NTA Director for appearances will not save the ministry from the ongoing student wrath,” the statement signed by SFI president VP Sanu and general secretary Mayukh Biswas sad.

“We affirm that the student community is united against the Union Ministry due to the numerous national exam discrepancies in recent days,” it said.

The SFI also made three demands:

1. The NTA should be completely scrapped with immediate effect.
2. The Minister of Education, Dharmendra Pradhan, should take responsibility and resign immediately.
3. Full compensation should be provided by the government to students affected by the untimely postponement of CSIR-UGC NET and NEET PG exams.

The organisation warned of students hitting the streets if the Modi government failed to initiate proper actions.

Save the future: Rahul Gandhi

Former AICC president Rahul Gandhi termed the postponement “another unfortunate example of the ruined education system under the rule of Narendra Modi”.

He further stated that under the BJP rule, students are not forced to ‘study’ to make their careers but are forced to ‘fight’ with the government to save their future.

“Now it is clear – Modi, who used to silently watch the spectacle every time, is completely helpless in front of the paper leak racket and education mafia,” he said on X.

“Narendra Modi’s incompetent government is the biggest threat to the future of students – we must save the future of the country from it,” the Raebareli MP-elect added.

Related: CBI registers FIR in UGC-NET paper leak case

CBI to probe NEET-UG fiasco

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has decided to entrust the CBI to probe the alleged 5 May NEET-UG exam irregularities.

For transparency on the conduct of the examination process, the Ministry of Education, Government of India, after a review has decided to entrust the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for comprehensive investigation, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday, 22 June.

“It further said the Centre has enacted the Public Examination (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, to prevent unfair means in the public examinations and to provide unfair means in the public examinations and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto,” the ministry said.

The statement also reiterated that any individual/organisation found to be involved will face strictest action.

(Edited by Majnu Babu)

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