Anti-NEET Bill: Comments have been shared with Tamil Nadu government for clarification, says Home Ministry

ByShilpa Nair

Published Jul 19, 2022 | 6:43 PM Updated Jul 28, 2022 | 12:07 PM

The Intermediate Practical exams begin on 1 February, while the theory exams begin on 28 February. (Creative Commons)

“No fixed time can be can be prescribed” for the approval of ‘The Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Medical Courses Bill, 2021″, said Minister of State (MoS) of Home Affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra in a written response to the question raised by Madurai Lok Sabha MP Su Venkatesan in the Parliament.

To the question asked by CPI(M) MP Venkatesan,  “As to whether the anti-NEET bill was forwarded to the Union Government for approval and its current status,” MoS Ajay Kumar Mishra replied in the affirmative and said, “Bills reserved by Governors of States for consideration and assent of the President are processed in the Home Ministry in consultation with the nodal central ministries or departments.”

He added that a consultation process was initiated as far as the anti-NEET bill is concerned.

“The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of AYUSH furnished their ‘comments’ on the Bill which have been shared with the Government of Tamil Nadu on 21 June and 27 June for their comments and clarifications,” read Mishra’s response.

However, the Home Ministry said that they cannot prescribe a fixed time for the approval of the bill as the consultation process in such cases takes time.

Why anti-NEET Bill

The bill was passed by the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly. As per the bill National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) scores are not to be considered as a criterion for admission to UG medical courses in the state.

Tamil Nadu has been strongly opposing NEET. Most of the political parties including the DMK and AIADMK firmly believe that the common entrance test discriminates against students coming from rural and underprivileged backgrounds.

Several students have died by suicide over the last few years in the state due to fear of failing the NEET exam which forced the Tamil Nadu assembly to pass the anti-NEET bill twice after the DMK government came to power.

The bill was first unanimously passed by the state assembly in September 2021. However, Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi refused to give his assent for the bill and returned it to the state legislature for reconsideration on 1 February 2022.

The same bill was passed for the second time by the Tamil Nadu assembly on 8 February.  The Governor finally forwarded the bill to the President of India on 5 May.

What is the anti-NEET bill?

‘The Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Medical Courses Bill, 2021’ is legislation passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly to dispense with the requirement of NEET scores for admission to UG medical degree courses.

The DMK government had constituted a committee led by Retired Justice AK Rajan on 10 June, 2021 to study the impact of NEET on admissions in the state.

The 165-page report submitted by the committee concluded that “NEET seems to have clearly undermined the diverse societal representation in MBBS and higher medical studies, favouring mainly the affordable and affluent segment of the society while equally thwarting the dream of pursuing medical education by underprivileged social groups.”