Tamil Nadu is looking for an immediate solution, The ball is in the President’s court
That Tamil Nadu stands apart in the Indian Union is once again affirmed by the resurrection of the NEET (National Entrance and Eligibility Test) bogey that is now threatening to morph into an electoral plank. Though it is unclear as to which party would benefit by raising the stink over the Union government and the President not acceding to the state’s demand for exemption from NEET for admission in government medical colleges in its domain, the pique has come to stay with the ordinary people.
While India meekly accepted NEET as the basis for medical college admissions when introduced in 2013, Tamil Nadu, a pioneer in medical education having 38 government colleges, resisted it. However, with the Union government making it mandatory in 2017, the state toed the line though amid protests. Though the MPs of the then ruling AIADMK had voted in favour of NEET in Parliament, the party, too, joined the bandwagon of NEET opposers.
But the ushering in of the new selection procedure in the state was jinxed as an aspirant, S. Anita from Kuzhumur village in Ariyalur district, committed suicide after failing to clear NEET. Anita, belonging to the Scheduled Caste community, would have definitely entered a medical college if the old system of selecting candidates based on marks in the higher secondary school examination was followed. From a total 1,200 marks she scored 1,176. But in NEET her score was just 86 out of 720.
Since her inability to realise her dream and also her passing due to suicide touched the hearts of the people, NEET incurred the ire of the public. So, all political parties, except the BJP, turned against it, notwithstanding the fact that NEET had been envisaged during Congress rule with the DMK as partner. With the emotive issue continuing to trigger suicides — the latest being of a son-father duo — and NEET supporters like the governor aggravating the situation by digging in their heels, Tamil Nadu is looking for an immediate solution. The ball is in the President’s court.