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NEET-PG Set for This Month, Question Papers Finalized 2 Hours Before Exam

The NEET-PG exam – for admission to postgraduate medical courses – will be held this month, sources told NDTV Tuesday afternoon, after the Home Ministry met officials from the government’s anti-cybercrime body. The question paper will be prepared two hours earlier, sources added.

Scheduled for June 23 the NEET-PG exam was postponed hours before its start amid a row over alleged irregularities, including leaked papers, for the UG exam.

The government had then said it would “undertake a thorough assessment of the robustness of processes of NEET-PG, conducted by the National Board of Examinations for medical students”.

The decision, the government said, had been taken in students’ best interest.

The scrapping of the exam – for which lakhs of aspiring medical professionals had enrolled – triggered furious protests, particularly from those who had travelled many kilometres to sit for the exam.

Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan tasked a committee to probe complaints.

The cancellation followed public outcry over the NEET-UG and the UGC-NET test, which confirms professorial appointments to colleges and universities, and is used to award research fellowships.

Possible indiscretions in the NEET-UG and UGC-NET exams – Mr Pradhan last month confirmed what students red-flagged, that questions were being sold on the darknet – put the spotlight on the National Testing Agency, which conducts both tests, and which saw its chief, SK Singh, sacked.

The NET re-test – the exam was voided two days after it was held – will be on July 25-27.

The NTA has been criticized by students and parents, as well as the opposition, and, last week, also saw its office in Delhi’s Okhla area briefly captured by a mob from the National Students Union of India – the student wing of the Congress, which has accused BJP of having “destroyed” the education system.

The NTA also faces a notice – to be replied on July 8 – from the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, inquiries into the NEET-UG case, being handled by the CBI, have led to multiple arrests and raids of coaching centres, school premises, and other locations across the country.

Last week the federal agency raided seven locations in Gujarat, and arrested the principal of a school in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh and a journalist from a local Hindi newspaper. Overall the CBI has filed six FIRs, or first information reports, including one it filed when handed the case by the government.

The other five are for three cases in Bihar and one each in Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Agency sources had earlier told NDTV a nationwide corruption racket may be involved.

The NEET row has spiraled into a massive political conflagration with the Congress-led INDIA bloc, and non-aligned opposition parties, including Naveen Patnaik’s BJD, targeting the ruling BJP.

In Parliament the Congress’ Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge have led the charge, demanding discussions as both Houses debate the Motion of Thanks to President Droupadi Murmu’s address.

Controversy over the NEET exam – nearly 24 lakh students took the May 5 exam – broke last month after results were declared. The first red flags were the unusually high number of perfect scores; a record 67 students, including six from one coaching centre, scored a maximum 720. Questions were also asked over the award of ‘grace marks’ – not exam protocol, the NTA said – to 1,563 students.

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