Tamil Nadu assembly has passed a new bill in order to halt admission to medical courses on the basis of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test. It would, however, not come into effect before a sign-off by President Kovind, as it may pose a challenge to the central law.
The admissions to undergraduate courses in medicine, homeopathy and dentistry will be based upon the students’ marks in Class 12 board examinations. The Bill also states 7.5% horizontal reservation in medical admission for government school students.
Chief Minister MK Stalin, who introduced the bill in the Assembly said, “Admissions to medical programmes can be traced back to entry 25 of List III, Schedule VII of the Constitution. Therefore, the state government is able to regulate the same. Hence, I am moving the Bill.” This evoked a loud thumping of desks in the assembly.
Although, the move was supported by opposition AIADMK, but the BJP opposed it. BJP leaders moved out of the assembly in protest.
A committee directed by Justice A K Rajan and organized by the DMK government in June, communicated to the government that NEET had weakened the societal representation in MBBS as well as higher medical education. This has favoured the affluent groups and baffled the dream of pursuing medical education by the deprived sections of society. The most affected among them were the government school students, who have a parental income less than 2.5 lakhs per annum and also the students belonging to Backward Classes, Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes.
As per the committee, the merit or standard of the students being admitted to MBBS does not seem to be ensured by NEET under its purview.
According to the chief minister, NEET did not improve the standard of medical examination. Even before 2017, Tamil Nadu had a huge number of medical and dental institutions and the standard of medical and dental professionals from these institutions was of high potency. “Admission done on the basis of qualifying examination will in no way lower the standard of education, since the higher secondary syllabus is of sufficient standard,” Stalin said. If the marks are regulated through a standardized method, it would provide a fair, just and equitable procedure of admission.
The government decided to sanction a law for ensuring social justice, protect vulnerable communities, uphold equality and equal opportunity and guarantee a strong public health care in the state, particularly in the rural areas, Stalin said. He remembered the legal action taken by DMK government as well as the political parties that led to a historic achievement of procuring 27% reservation for OBC under All India Quota for medical courses.