President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday signed an executive order putting on hold the uniform medical entrance exam, National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) for a year. The Ordinance to put NEET on hold was submitted before the President on Saturday. Mukherjee had on Monday sought more information and clarification on few points from the Health Ministry over the decision to bring an Ordinance putting on hold the uniform medical entrance examination that seeks to keep state boards out of its purview.
The need for more information was conveyed to health minister J P Nadda who called on the President Monday afternoon to brief him about the need for bringing the Executive Order before the latter leaves for China on Tuesday. The meeting lasted for more than half-an-hour and the minister is learnt to have briefed the President on three set of issues — different exams of state boards, syllabi and regional languages.
Health Ministry sources said that during the meeting, some fresh information was sought by the President. “The Ministry is in the process of sending them,” sources added. The President had earlier asked Nadda’s ministry to explain the reason for taking the Ordinance route to keep state boards out of the ambit of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). The meeting between the President and Mr Nadda was “satisfactory”, the sources said.
The Ordinance, cleared by the Union Cabinet earlier on Friday, is aimed at “partially” overturning a Supreme Court order which said all government colleges, deemed universities and private medical colleges would be covered under NEET.Clarifying that the exemption is only for the state government seats, government sources had said the state seats which are earmarked in the private medical colleges have also been exempted.
Different states earmark seats in various private medical colleges for state quota so that students from one state can get seats in another state.
The next phase of the exam is scheduled for July 24. Nearly 6.5 lakh students have already taken the medical entrance test in the first phase of NEET held on May 1. Health Ministry sources said that seven states will take medical exams as per NEET while in six other states, around 4 lakh students have already taken the examinations.