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New Delhi: Tamil Nadu chief minister M.K. Stalin has written to his counterparts in 11 non-BJP ruled states and Goa, seeking their support to oppose the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and restore “the primacy of states” in education, the government said on Monday.
In a letter to his counterparts, the chief minister reiterated his government’s opposition to NEET.
“Our considered position has always been that the move by the Union government to introduce NEET goes against the spirit of federalism and violates the constitutional balance of power by curbing the rights of the state governments to decide on the method of admission in the medical institutions founded, established and run by them,” the letter said.
The letter said the support of chief ministers from other states was crucial to “ensure that students of our respective states, hailing from rural areas and marginalised sections of the society, are not put to hardship in obtaining admissions to higher educational institutions.” “We need to put up a united effort to restore the primacy of state governments in administering the education sector, as envisaged in our constitution.”
The letter was sent to chief ministers of Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, Delhi, Kerala and Goa.
According to the Indian Express, Stalin, along with the letter, is also sending copies of the Justice A.K. Rajan Committee report on the impact of NEET on socially backward students.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government had promised to repeal NEET and make medical admissions on the basis of class 12 marks. Therefore, it had formed a committee headed by Justice Rajan, former judge of the Madras high court, to study the impact of NEET on socially backward students.
The Rajan Committee report on July 14 stated that the nationwide imposition of an examination such as NEET affected the federal structure as envisaged in the Constitution. “The Centre has no power to regulate admission to medical colleges in the state, it can only determine standards,” the Frontline reported him as saying.
The 165-page report, which looking into around 86,000 representations from various stakeholders, most of whom said they don’t want NEET, also analysed the need for private coaching for NEET which most students from the disadvantaged sections cannot afford.
According to the report, the proportion of students from economically weaker backgrounds in the state’s medical colleges has significantly decreased since NEET was introduced in 2017-18. In September, at least three students took their own life in Tamil Nadu, allegedly due to the pressure they were facing because of NEET.
But the Union government’s approach is clear: it wants a pan-India, one-size-fits-all approach to entrance examinations.
The Tamil Nadu government on September 13 passed a Bill which seeks to stop medical admissions on the basis of NEET. However, it needs approval from the president as it challenges a central law.
(With inputs from PTI)