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NEET: CM Introduces Bill to Exempt Tamil Nadu From Test After Student's Death by Suicide

A 19-year old in the state's Salem district took his life on Sunday, fearing the outcome of the competitive exam.

Chennai: The death by suicide of a medical aspirant fearing outcome of the National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test he was to take, echoed in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Monday, September 13, with the main opposition AIADMK targeting the government while Chief Minister M.K. Stalin introduced a Bill, to dispense with NEET and provide for admission to medical courses based on Class XII marks.

As soon as the House convened, Leader of Opposition K. Palaniswami referred to the death by suicide of a 19-year old in his native Salem district on Sunday and targeted the government on the matter.

He said that though the DMK had promised “cancelling” NEET it was not done and several students had not prepared well. Some of his remarks were expunged by Speaker M. Appavu. He sought a job for a person from the family, besides cash assistance.

The opposition party MLAs, who came to the House wearing black badges, staged a walkout led by Palaniswami.

On Sunday, hours before he was to appear for NEET for a third time, the student died by suicide, fearing the outcome of the test he was to take and the incident triggered a blame game with the AIADMK holding the DMK regime responsible for the death and the state government targeting the Centre.

Also read: Why Tamil Nadu Hates NEET

Chief Minister Stalin, replying, said NEET was conducted for the first time in Tamil Nadu when Palaniswami was the Chief Minister and it was not held even when late J. Jayalalithaa was the CM. Recalling the death by suicides of students in recent years, he said all these happened when Palaniswami was the CM.

Stalin also targeted the AIADMK over rejection of Bills enacted during its regime in 2017 to get the state exempted from the ambit of NEET and also for hiding it from the House.

Stalin introduced the Bill and appealed to all to support it for social justice, indicating that the present initiative would be fully different from what was done before during the AIADMK regime.

The Bill seeks to provide for admission to UG courses in medicine, dentistry, Indian medicine, and homeopathy on the basis of marks obtained in the qualifying examination, (Class XII).

The Bill, referring to recommendations of a high level committee, said the government has decided to enact a law to dispense with the requirement of NEET for admission to UG Medical degree courses and to provide admission to such courses on the basis of marks obtained in the qualifying examination, through “Normalisation methods” in order to ensure “social justice, uphold equality and equal opportunity, protect all vulnerable student communities from being discriminated and bring them to the mainstream of medical and dental education and in turn to ensure a robust public health care across the state particularly the rural areas.”

If you know someone – friend or family member – at risk of suicide, please reach out to them. The Suicide Prevention India Foundation maintains a list of telephone numbers they can call to speak in confidence. Icall, a counselling service run by TISS, has maintained a crowdsourced list of therapists across the country. You could also take them to the nearest hospital.