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Friday, July 12, 2024

Subodh Kumar Singh Removed as NTA Director General

In response to extensive claims of irregularities in the NEET UG and UGC-NET tests, the Centre fired Subodh Kumar Singh, the director general of the National Testing Agency (NTA). Singh is being held at the Department of Personnel and Training on “compulsory wait” until further directives.

India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) chairman and managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola has been appointed as the new director general of the exam body, which conducts several large-scale exams, including the NEET, UGC-NET, CUET and JEE (Main). Kharola had previously served as the Civil Aviation secretary.

Amid the row, the Centre announced a high-level committee led by former ISRO chairperson K Radhakrishnan to review the functioning of the Agency amid the irregularities.

The seven-member committee has been tasked with making recommendations on reforms of the exam process, improving data security, and strengthening the functioning of NTA.

“Forming a high-level committee of experts with K Radhakrishnan as chairman is a welcome step towards ensuring transparent, smooth, and fair conduct of the entrance exams. The committee’s emphasis on recommending reforms in the examination process, enhancing data security protocols, and improving the NTA’s structure and functioning will strengthen our national entrance examination system. Protecting student’s interest and their future is our priority,” says M Jagadesh Kumar, chairman, UGC.

The committee has been asked to submit its report within two months.

The developments come amid huge protests across the country over alleged irregularities and unfair marking in NEET UG 2024 results, following which the Centre has scrapped the scores of 1,563 candidates who were seeking admission into medical colleges after they were given grace marks for a wrong question. 

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that leaks of question papers amounted to “institutional failure” on the part of the NTA.

Moreover, the Centre has also cancelled the UGC NET exam over ‘compromised integrity of exam’. The exam was taken by 900,000 candidates across 317 cities on June 18.

The NEET-PG 2024 exam, scheduled to take place on June 23, has also been postponed. Additionally, the joint CSIR-UGC-NET June 2024 has also been deferred by the Centre till further notice.

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