On Monday, October 4, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin wrote to his counterparts in 12 states, seeking their support to oppose the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) and restore "the primacy of states" in education.
Stalin's letter was addressed to the chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana and West Bengal. "Our considered position has always been that the Union government's decision to introduce the NEET goes against the very spirit of federalism and violates the constitutional balance of power by curbing the rights of the State governments to decide on the method of admission to the medical institutions founded, established and run by them," Stalin stated in the letter.
Asserting Constitutional Rights
He added that the state governments need to assert their constitutional right and position in deciding the method of admission to their higher educational institutions, in this regard.
A copy of the Justice AK Rajan Committee's report on the adverse impact of the NEET and a copy of the Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Medical Degree Courses Act, 2021 — adopted in the Assembly last month on the basis of the report — were also enclosed with the letter.
The TN CM also requested his counterparts to ensure that the students of their states, especially those from rural areas and the marginalised sections, are not put to hardship in obtaining admission to higher education institutions.
'NEET Will Affect Healthcare Sector In TN'
In a 165-page report submitted by retired Justice AK Rajan Committee on the impact of NEET, it was stated that NEET should be eliminated immediately. The Bill, quoting the panel report, had said if NEET continues for a few more years, it would affect the healthcare infrastructure of Tamil Nadu, bringing a shortage of doctors' appointments in primary health centres and government hospitals.
A couple of suicides by NEET aspirants in Tamil Nadu rocked the state last month. Last month, the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a bill that attempts to bypass NEET for medical students in the state, instead of allowing admissions to be made based on marks obtained by students in Class XII.