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Chennai: The concerns raised by Tamil Nadu over the mandatory National-Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical courses, have escalated this year, with several parties planning protests across the state.

States like Tamil Nadu that have been opposing NEET have claimed that the students from the CBSE board will have an advantage over students from state boards.

“NEET exam is not a West Bengal issue. It is a federal issue," said Derek O’Brien of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Rajya Sabha on Monday.

Members of the TMC and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) raised the issue of different questions papers given in the common medical entrance examination in regional languages in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

Losing out medical college seats to students from other states has been one of the biggest concerns for the state.

A Times of India report on Monday said that the number of students from other states securing MBBS seats from the government quota on the basis of nativity will go up from about 47 in 2016 to nearly 500 this year, if the state admits students on the basis of NEET. According to the report, it will be an 11-fold increase in the 85% government quota seats in 22 state-run medical colleges and state quota seats in 10 self-financing medical colleges compared to last year.

“We will spend our people’s money, build quality medical institutions. You will come from other states, take our seats under NEET, study and go back to your state. Why should we run such institutions and spend our people’s money for you?" asked Anbumani Ramadoss, leader of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK). The party held a hunger strike last week in opposition to NEET.

The leader of opposition and working president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) M.K. Stalin on Saturday said in a statement, “Due to the ignorance of the AIADMK government and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s policies against social justice, NEET has entered Tamil Nadu and poured cold water on the medical aspirations of the state’s students."

Opposing the NEET, the DMK will form human chains across all districts in the state on Thursday. Its ally Congress, along with Communist Party of India (CPI) and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) will join the protest. CPM has announced picketing protests in front of central government offices on Friday.

Also read: M.K. Stalin attacks Centre, Tamil Nadu govt over introduction of NEET

Two bills passed in the state assembly by the Edappadi K. Palaniswami government for providing exemption from NEET for admission to medical courses are awaiting presidential assent. The DMK had blamed the BJP for not sending the bills to the president for his assent and failing to respect the democratic rights of the state.

“Is this the way of cooperative federalism? State assembly passes a resolution, the central Government is not accepting it,"said CPM leader T.K. Rangarajan on Monday in Rajya Sabha. He added that half of the questions in the NEET examination were not part of the syllabus taught to students in Tamil Nadu.

Earlier this month, the Madras high court quashed a Tamil Nadu government order that reserved 85% of the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) and Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) seats to state board students and 15% for students from CBSE and other boards.

The NEET, which was declared illegal and unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013, was restored in April last year, after a five-judge constitution bench recalled the earlier verdict and allowed the Centre and the Medical Council of India (MCI) to implement the common entrance test. However, last year, following requests from states like Tamil Nadu, a law was made granting an exemption from NEET, only for government colleges, for one year.

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