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“Government Ready For Every Discussion..”: Education Minister On NEET Row

Following the paper leak controversy around the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for medical undergraduates and the cancellation of UGC-NET due to “lack of integrity,” Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that the discussion must happen within tradition and decorum.

“The government is ready for every kind of discussion, but everything should happen within tradition and decorum. When the President herself spoke about the exam in her speech yesterday, it showed the government’s intention that we are ready to face any issue… The government’s responsibility is towards the youth of the country, towards the students of the country… The government is ready to put forth its side, then what is the confusion? … We are going to take the strictest action and the CBI is going to catch everyone, we will not spare anyone. A credible high-level committee has also been formed for reform, soon the date of all those exams will also be announced. I also request the opposition to come out of politics and join the discussion,” said Dharmendra Pradhan.

“We are not going to spare anyone. Those who were in charge of NTA have been removed and the responsibility has been given to senior officials. All this is proof of the government’s commitment… I want to appeal to the opposition that they should not confuse the students…” he added.

The opposition however is adamant on its demand to enforce a discussion on the alleged irregularities in the NEET examination.

Rajya Sabha LoP and Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said, “Under Rule 267 we are demanding a special discussion on it in the House, and after that, we will state our demands.”

Congress MP Deepender Singh Hooda said, “The future of the youth has been spoiled due to the continuous paper leaks in the country. The maximum number of paper leak cases have been seen in Haryana. The paper was leaked in the NEET exam and the Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is running away from responsibility. We had brought up a discussion on this and when it was raised in the House, the mike was switched off. If the mike of the Leader of the Opposition is switched off, then there will be anger among other opposition MPs and the same happened in the House. We demand that this issue be discussed.”

Notably, for the NEET-UG and UGC-NET exams, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on June 23 registered a criminal case over the alleged irregularities in the conduct of the examination by the NTA and formed special teams to probe the matter.

As per the agency’s FIR, certain “isolated incidents” occurred in a few states during the conduct of the NEET (UG) 2024 examination, which was held on May 5, 2024.

The NEET (UG) 2024 Examination was conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on May 5, 2024, at 4,750 centres in 571 cities, including 14 cities abroad, with over 23 lakh candidates appearing for the examination.

An unprecedented 67 candidates achieved a perfect score of 720 marks out of 720, which led to widespread protests in the country.

The Ministry of Education said it has constituted a high-level committee of experts to make recommendations on reforms in the mechanism of the examination process, improvements in data security protocols, and the functioning of the NTA.

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