TN governor returns govt bill seeking NEET exemption for state, says it is against interest of rural students

Governor of Tamil Nadu, RN Ravi, has returned to the state government a bill requesting exemption for the state from the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), saying it conflicts with the interests of rural and economically poor students, as the government announced to convene a meeting with all parties to discuss the future course of action.

The meeting of all parties represented in the state assembly will be held on February 5 at the secretariat under Prime Minister MK Stalin.
The governor has returned the bill passed by the state assembly in September 2021 and the report of a high-level commission composed by the government of Tamil Nadu in this regard to the assembly’s chairman M Appavu, he said. a press release from Raj Bhavan.

The governor “after a detailed study of the 2021 LABill No. 43 for admission to undergraduate medical courses requiring exemption from NEET, and the report of the high-level commission established by the state government in this regard, which forms the basis for the Bill and also examines the pre-NEET status of social justice in medical admission, especially for students from socially and economically poor backgrounds, believes that the bill is contrary to the interests of the students, especially the nationwide and economically poor students of the state.”

“Therefore, the Honorable Governor has forwarded the bill back to the Honorable Speaker, the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu on Feb 01, 2022, with detailed reasons for the House reconsideration,” it said.

The Supreme Court in Christian Medical College, Vellore Association Vs. Union of India (2020) has also explored the issue extensively, especially from a social justice perspective and has supported NEET as it prevents economic exploitation of poor students and promotes social justice, it added.

In response to Ravi’s move, the DMK government, which is steadfastly opposed to NEET, assured all steps to re-pass the bill in the Assembly, adding that the governor’s opinions will be studied and the “truth about NEET will be revealed.” be explained”.

A government statement recalled that although the state assembly had passed the bill in September and sent it to the governor to be forwarded to the president for his approval, the same was not done, after which Stalin met Ravi and insisted on sending it to the president.

In Tamil Nadu, there was unanimous opinion that NEET favored the wealthy and students with access to coaching classes and that admission on the basis of the exam was contrary to social justice.

The bill was prepared on the basis of a report by a committee headed by Judge AK Rajan, a retired judge of the Madras High Court.

It also described as “unacceptable” the governor’s comments that the bill conflicted with the interests of rural and economically backward students.
Stalin, meanwhile, recalled in a Twitter post that DMK founder and late Prime Minister CN Annadurai had long ago questioned whether a governor was needed for a state.

The CM also later wrote to the leaders of several political parties represented in the 234-member Assembly, including the AIADMK, BJP, PMK and the left-wing parties to invite them to the all-party meeting on Saturday.

The governor’s decision comes months after Prime Minister MK Stalin met with him in November and urged him to send the bill to the president for approval, in addition to an all-party meeting chaired by the latter last month at which it was decided to have a united legal battle against the central qualifying exam. NEET has an emotional undertone in the state against the backdrop of alleged suicides of medical aspirants, either because they failed to resolve it or because of concerns about scoring lows.

The suicide of a Dalit girl from Ariyalur district, S. Anitha, in 2017 after a failure in NEET sparked outrage in the state and calls for the abolition of NEET have only gained momentum since then, even as the previous AIADMK government also passed a meeting resolution requesting exemption for Tamil Nadu from the scope of NEET.

The abolition of NEET is a poll promise of the DMK, which came to power in May 2021 after a 10-year stint in opposition. Except for BJP, all other parties in Tamil Nadu are against NEET.

In September 2021, while aiming to abolish NEET, the Assembly bill had said that the admission test is not a fair or equitable method of admission as it favored the wealthy and elite sections of society.

Referring to the high-level committee headed by Judge AK Rajan, retired judge of the Madras High Court, the preamble to the bill then said that, after conducting a detailed study, the panel concluded that if NEET would go on for a few more years, health The health care system of Tamil Nadu would be very badly affected and there may not be enough doctors for placements in primary health centers or state hospitals and the rural and urban poor are unable to will be to participate in the medical courses.

Meanwhile, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) MP Anbumani Ramadoss called for an urgent meeting of the state assembly to pass another bill against NEET and send it to the governor.

He described Ravi returning the bill as “unfortunate”, saying it was “unacceptable that the governor felt it conflicts with the interests of rural and economically poor students.” “His decision is against social justice,” he said in a series of tweets.

CPI Secretary of State R Mutharasan also reacted to the governor’s decision, saying it was against the feelings of the people of the state. NEET has been hostile to the interests of Tamil Nadu students since it was introduced, he said in a statement.

“In order to ensure the well-being of the students of Tamil Nadu and social justice, the state government should send the bill to the governor once again,” he added. TNCC president KS Alagiri also criticized the governor’s decision.

In New Delhi, members of the DMK and Congress walked out of the Lok Sabha demanding a recall from Ravi, and objected to his decision to reverse the NEET Exemption Act.

TR Baalu, the leader of the DMK floor, was shocked by Ravi’s decision to return the NEET Exemption Act, claiming that it was contrary to the interest of the students of the southern state, especially poor students and those from rural areas.

Meanwhile, Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi (TVK), an ally of the ruling DMK, announced on Saturday that it will strike the Raj Bhavan. Party chief T Velmurugan announced the protest against the governor’s decision.

Sajal Jain
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