Parliament passes bills assigning constitutional status to NEET
The two amendment bills aim to end the multiplicity of medical exams, pave the way for fair examinations
New Delhi: Ending the confusion around the National Eligibility cum Entrance Exam (NEET) examination, Parliament on Monday passed amendments to two bills to replace an ordinance promulgated by the government this year.
The Rajya Sabha passed the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016, and the Dentist (Amendment) Bill, 2016, seeking to amend the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and the Dentist Act, 1948.
The bills were passed by Lok Sabha on 19 July and aim to bring private colleges under the ambit of the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill and Dentist (Amendment) Bill.
The two bills assign constitutional status to the NEET examination, which will be introduced in the academic session starting next year.
Health minister J.P. Nadda, replying to a debate in Rajya Sabha, said while NEET will be introduced next year for undergraduate medical exams, it will be applicable for postgraduate examination from 2016-17 session, the exam for which will be held in December this year.
The government promulgated the ordinances applicable for undergraduate exams to counter the Supreme Court order that required the implementation of NEET examination from this academic session itself.
While an ordinance has a life of six months, it should be passed as a bill within 42 days (six weeks) from the day a Parliament session commences to prevent it from lapsing.
The bill aims to end the multiplicity of medical examinations and pave the way for fair and transparent examinations.
The new legislation will end exploitation of students by colleges demanding capitation fees; a common entrance exam means students will not have to travel long distances to appear for various admission tests, Nadda said.
Members of Parliament raised concerns about the parity of the syllabus, over whether NEET will be conducted in regional languages, disparity between fee structures of private and government universities and alteration in state quotas.
Nadda said a committee of judges will decide the fees for private colleges, while the government will do it for government institutes. He also said the health ministry had written to states seeking details of the number of students who appeared in local language tests in the last three years so that the centre can conduct NEET in regional languages.
The Central Board of Secondary Education will conduct the undergraduate exam for NEET. The postgraduation exams will be carried out by the National Board of Examinations. NEET will be held on the basis of the National Council Of Educational Research And Training (NCERT) syllabus, which will be standardized to incorporate differences between the course structures of various state boards.
The centre will provide a state-wise merit list of students to the respective states, with the name, rank, domicile and percentile of each student. The states will have the freedom to give priority to students from rural areas/backward regions in terms of allotting extra marks. The broad merit list circulated by the centre will avoid any scope for exploitation and discrepancy in counselling.
Parliament on Monday also passed amendments to The National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which has proposed to declare the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Andhra Pradesh, as an institution of national importance.
The Rajya Sabha gave its go-ahead to amend the National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research Act, 2007, for this purpose.
The centre will provide support to NIT, Andhra Pradesh, which has been registered as a society under the Andhra Pradesh Society Registration Act, 2001.
Human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar, in his reply to the debate in the upper House, said there will be no dearth of funds for the institution. He said a detailed project report would be ready in two months and, following that, funds will be disbursed for building proper infrastructure facilities at NIT. For the current year, a sum of Rs.40 crore has been set aside for the establishment of NIT in Andhra Pradesh, as a token provision.
The government had also set aside adequate funds for improving projects, research and infrastructure facilities at all NITs across the country. For example, the outlay for NITs in the year 2016-17 was Rs.2,645 crore. This was an increase from Rs.2,500 crore in 2015-16.
“Education is not a political agenda, but a national agenda,” Javadekar said.
To ensure a steady outlay of funds for improving the quality of research and technology across NITs and the Indian Institutes of Technology, the minister said the government had put in Rs.1,000 crore and leverage another Rs.1,000 crore from a financial institution towards the creation of a Rs.20,000 crore corpus in the next three years. Out of this corpus, 40% will be disbursed for creating research infrastructure at the institutes.