The Tamil Nadu Assembly passed the Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Medical Degree Courses Bill today, which seeks to end medical admissions based on the National Eligibility Cumulative Entrance Test (NEET) for state students. All medical admissions in the state will now be based on students’ Class 12 grades. Except for the BJP, all parties supported the Bill.
The Bill challenged a central law and will only make a difference if the President signs it.
On June 5, the chief minister formed a high-level committee led by retired justice AK Rajan to investigate the impact of NEET and the mushrooming coaching centres. Based on the panel’s findings, the government recommended that NEET be phased out immediately.
According to the government, the committee concluded that NEET benefits only the wealthy and elite, stifling the aspirations of underprivileged social groups to pursue medical education.
According to the committee, NEET has impacted rural and urban poor students from government and Tamil-medium schools, particularly those whose families earn less than 2.5 lakh per year.
NEET does not guarantee merit or standard. It only allowed low-performing students to gain admission to MBBS programmes, and it further stated that if NEET continues, the state’s healthcare system will suffer from a lack of doctors at Primary Health Care Centers.
For nearly a decade, Tamil Nadu had no medical admissions examination. During the UPA regime, its ally, the DMK, was able to obtain Presidential approval for exemption.
The AIADMK government, on the other hand, was unable to obtain the same exemption from its ally, the BJP. The Supreme Court had also ruled in favour of a stay of the NEET.
AIADMK MLA and former state health minister Dr Vijayabhaskar stated, “We are in favour of it. Let’s see if this plan works.”
According to sources, the state government is relying on compelling data.
A study of medical admissions four years before and after NEET found a nearly tenfold decrease in state board students securing medical admission, from 380 to around 40. However, the number of CBSE students passing has increased exponentially, from three to over 200, a nearly 70-fold increase. The vast majority of them had enrolled in private tutoring in order to pass the exam. After two to four years of preparation, a large percentage of candidates passed the NEET.
It is the first study of its kind on the impact of NEET on medical admissions through the lens of social justice and economic backwardness beyond reservations.
Dhanush, a 19-year-old aspirant, committed suicide on Sunday, just hours before taking the NEET for the third time. 14 others, including some toppers, have died in recent years as a result of failing to pass the NEET.