Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Health Minister bats for common medical entrance

Health Minister bats for common medical entrance

Responding to the objections raised by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa against the Centre’s decision to file a petition in the Supreme Court seeking review of its judgment quashing the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh clarifying the need for retaining the test. The test is conducted for admissions to MBBS, BDS and PG courses in all medical colleges.

Sources said that the Prime Minister forwarded Jayalalithaa’s letter to Azad. In his letter, Azad said the students seeking admission in graduate and post-graduate level medical courses and their parents had to suffer mental, physical and financial hardships under the admission scheme followed till last year.

He also pointed out that multiple entrance examinations conducted by various agencies had differential standards for admission compromising the merit component.

Maintaining that his Ministry has been working on creating a more robust environment for admissions to medical and dental courses across the country by introducing a single-window entrance test, Azad said NEET would be in the larger interest of society and students aspiring to study medicine.

The Health Minister also clarified that no reservation policy followed by minority institutions or state governments would be affected by a NEET-based admission process.

The apex court, in a majority verdict, had scrapped NEET on July 18. In a dissenting judgment, Justice A R Dave had upheld the Medical Council of India’s (MCI) decision to conduct this common entrance exam saying that holding of NEET is “legal, practical and need of society”.

Armed with the support from the dissenting judgment of Justice Dave, the Health Ministry has decided to file the review petition and has also sought the advice of the Department of Legal Affairs in the matter.

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