Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Friday met President Draupadi Murmu here before her departure to New Delhi and flagged the “inordinate delay” in granting assent to the Bill that seeks exemption for the state from NEET despite the state government providing its inputs sought by various Union Ministries on time.
Arguing that NEET-based medical selection process is against the interests of students from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds, Stalin sought Murmu’s immediate intervention in this sensitive issue and urged her to accord the assent to the above Bill at the earliest.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly, in September 2021, had passed the Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Medical Degree Courses Bill seeking exemption from NEET, but Governor R N Ravi returned the same in February 2022. However, the Assembly re-enacted the Bill within a few days and sent it back to the Governor, who referred it to the President in May 2022.
The Union Home Ministry sought replies from the Tamil Nadu government on comments received from the Union Ministries of Health and Family Welfare, Education, and Ayush on different dates.
“The replies have been provided expeditiously,” Stalin said, adding that since there was no progress after the replies, he wrote a letter to the President on August 14, 2023, highlighting the adverse impacts due to the delay, which include lost opportunities for the underprivileged students and many cases of student suicides.
The latest queries from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have also been answered, but unfortunately, the assent to the Bill has not been provided till now, Stalin told Murmu.
“In this scenario, I once again wish to reiterate that the inordinate delay in granting assent to our Bill has deprived medical admissions for many deserving students who could not afford costly coaching facilities and has effectively stalled the intent of the broad legislative, political and social consensus in Tamil Nadu,” the Chief Minister added.
In the letter, Stalin said Tamil Nadu has opted for the MBBS selection process through plus-two marks, which had served the state’s interests well in the past but had to be discontinued due to the Union Government’s introduction of NEET and subsequent changes in Union legislations.
NEET has been an emotional and political issue in Tamil Nadu, with nearly a dozen students ending their lives either due to the fear of appearing for the exam or the pressure of clearing it. All political parties, with the exception of the BJP, have been demanding for its scrapping.
Tamil Nadu believes NEET discriminates against students from rural areas who are forced to compete with those from urban areas. The government has been pushing for the subject Education, which is currently in the concurrent list, to be brought back to State list of the Constitution.
(Published 27 October 2023, 08:51 IST)