March 7th, 2017
Medical students across the country are organising mass protest marches in different cities as they allege a major foul play in the selection of candidates via the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) Post-Graduation entrance 2016-17.
The protest, which began at New Delhi’s Connaught place area on February 28, gained momentum in different parts of the country after similar protests were organised consecutively in Patna, Bengaluru and Raipur in the first week of March.
The students have alleged that the Executive Director of National Board of Examination (NBE), Dr Bipin Batra, is behind this scam that has hooked the NEET-PG examination conducted all over the country between 5 December and 13 December 2016. The medicos have already addressed their concerns to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and sought for a CBI probe into the matter. However, no actions have been taken so far.
Students alleged that deserving candidates are not being able to get seats in the PG exams, while the undeserving ones are investing a huge sum of money or using their power to secure a good rank in NEET.
“After the exam was conducted, a student from JNMC college in Belgaum, Karnataka, whose father holds a high post in Punjab Medical Council, told his friends that he is going to secure a place in Radiology section — the most esteemed stream to pursue in PG. It is impossible to believe that same student who completed his five years of MBBS in eight years, secured a rank in the 500s in NEET. This is not possible without pouring high denominations of currency,” said one of the doctors from Save The Doctors Association to The Logical Indian.
Dr Anand Rai, who had been the primary whistleblower of the VYAPAM scam, is also leading a movement against this NEET scam. In many of his recent tweets, he has raised the issue of how corrupt practices are being involved in conducting NEET.
Big protest against#NeetPG Fraud,we support centralised counselling of 85%seats of Pvt college,only15%NRI seats they can fill by their own pic.twitter.com/GKteO08UGn
— Dr. Anand Rai (@anandrai177) March 2, 2017
He alleges that more than 3,000 students from private medical colleges with poor academic backgrounds managed their selection in NEET-PG through Prof. Bipin Batra. Students who took ten years to clear MBBS got some outstanding ranks in NEET-PG on their first attempt.
Protest at Raipur against NEET PG fraud
Pt .jnm.medical college to collecterate
रायपुर में वत्रा,NBEके खिलाफ जंगी प्रदर्शन,Plz Join protest pic.twitter.com/uqNsQLgxaX
— Dr. Anand Rai (@anandrai177) March 5, 2017
The issues that are surfacing
One of the major allegations against the NEET-PG exam last year had been the free operation of agents who openly called up the medical students and asked for money to assure them a good rank in the examination. The agents were charging as high as Rs 1.7 crore over the phone to give the students a rank to pursue radiology. Many students who received ranks between 300 and 400 in other examinations like AIIMS or Jipmer, got their ranks in 5,000s in NEET. Again candidates with ranks like 5,000 and 6,000, secured ranks within 500 on their first attempt in NEET.
Another significant concern of the NEET-PG examination is the adaptation of Prometric system to conduct the test. The tender of the test was given to Prometric without any earlier notification. Dr Rai alleges that the tender is worth $40 million, contrary to the $5 million TCS used to charge earlier to conduct the test.
In many exam halls, candidates opted for ‘Munnabhai MBBS’ style entrance where different people impersonated the actual candidates and gave the examination on their behalf. The original candidate entered the centre and went through all the verification. But instead of taking their seats, they went to the bathroom with the help of the centre staff. It is then that the proxy candidates wearing the same clothes as the original candidate entered the hall and gave the exams. The Delhi police arrested some eight people allegedly involved in the racket last year.
Reports have come from many examination centres in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar that the servers on which the candidates gave exams were hacked externally. Such instances were reported especially in North India. This is why many students from Karnataka opted to give their exams from Ghaziabad or Noida in Uttar Pradesh where their answer sheets were rigged externally. The students are seeking a CBI probe to find out how such hacking was conducted during the exam.
— Dr. Anand Rai (@anandrai177) March 1, 2017
The NBE had even allegedly manipulated the marks of the candidates. Not a single candidate in the examination had an overlapping number in their score cards. It is not possible that not even two candidates are getting the same score out of all over 1,16,000 candidates. Many will argue that the numbers that were given were upto four decimals and that’s why there are no overlapping. But in 2015, there were more than 400 candidates who got the same marks.
Students have been linking the source of this corruption to Dr Bipin Batra, the Executive Director of NBE. They say that Dr Batra doesn’t deserve the position of being the Executive. The way he gave the tender of conducting the exam to Prometric without any prior notice was illegal. There is still no clarification of the same available on the NBE website, and therefore it further raises the fingers on him.
The students have put forward a written notice to the Prime Minister’s Office to conduct a probe against all the corruption that has grappled the NEET examination. They urge a probe to be ordered against Dr Batra before the PG counselling begins on March 14.
The Logical Indian take
Since students across the country have taken the decision of going on a mass protest against corruption, the government should at least order a probe to have a thorough look into the matter and find out what is brewing below the garb of NEET entrance. The doctors who deserve seats are not getting any because of thousands are winning the race with their money and power. Even the least deserving candidates are getting medical degrees and starting their own practice as doctors. If such doctors start flourishing all over India, then the mass would lose their faith in country’s doctors – the most revered people humans, “next to God”.
We urge the PMO to take immediate action to curb such illegal practices and make way for those who are working hard to achieve their degrees.