Published: 02nd April 2019
Congress manifesto: No more 'discriminatory' NEET for India if Rahul Gandhi becomes PM
The Indian National Congress is the first to address the NEET issue at a national level and has come out with an announcement that could be a game-changer in some states
Rahul Gandhi said while he released the Congress manifesto for the Lok Sabha Election 2019 that his party feels that the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is discriminatory against students from certain States. Congress is the latest addition to the 'scrap-NEET' club after DMK and AIADMK of Tamil Nadu.
The NEET has never had a great fan-base. The announcement of the introduction of NEET in 2012 was not quite well received by states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. Several others like Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh joined in late in 2017 and it has been a major issue for the 2019 Elections.
Rahul's Congress is the first to address the issue at a national level, "The NEET examination is discriminatory against students from certain States. In addition, it interferes with the State Government’s right to admit students domiciled in the State to medical colleges in that State." But Rahul, if made the PM promises to "dispense with the NEET examination and substitute it with a State-level examination of an equivalent standard, approved by the competent authority for admission to medical colleges in that State."
The DMK has been protesting against the exam in Tamil Nadu for quite some time now and rivals AIADMK did its best as well to exempt the state from NEET by taking the case to the Supreme Court. However, Tamil Nadu State BJP President, Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan had criticised the DMK for putting NEET abolition on their manifesto and questioned the DMK about how they would manage to get an exemption when there was an SC order on the same. Her stance casts a huge shadow of doubt on the AIADMK's promise, given the recent alliance of the two parties.
The Centre has been firm about establishing NEET as the national medical entrance exam and has turned down several requests from state governments to revoke it in the past. So, expecting the Centre to exempt it now seems redundant, more so because the SC has taken the Centre's side.