NEET 2024: How it shook the faith among lakhs of students, parents

The medical entrace exam is under lens for lack of integrity in the selection process for undergraduate medical seats. The unprecedented declaration of 67 all-India rank 1 holders has sparked concern regarding the fairness of the allocation of grace marks and attracted criticism, writes Nitya Gaba

We as individuals in life create dreams for ourselves to achieve and hope to reach the top of the mountain. It requires hard work, a strong mindset and most importantly constant support from people around us throughout the journey.

So, there exists a huge chunk of youth aspiring to become a doctor. NEET (National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test) 2024 is a medical entrance exam held every year for the young minds who aim to become a doctor one day. Recently, all the controversies in the air regarding NEET 2024 has led to disappointed eyes. We as Individuals must realise the unjust play that is taking place by understanding the depth of the issue.

NEET has been under spotlight for its lack of credibility and integrity in the selection process of the candidates for undergraduate medical seats. Long before National Test Agency (NTA) came into play, CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) was the facilitator of the examination. Presently NEET is overseen by the autonomous NTA under the Ministry of Education. Over the years, from 2012 to 2020, there have been doubts about the system by which the medical exams are conducted. Despite legal challenges that questioned NEET during the last few years, the Supreme Court upheld the involvement in this area, but in 2024, the exam faced petitions cast around for its annulment due to the alleged leaks and irreconcilability, casting doubts on its impartiality.

In this year’s examination, around 23 lakhs candidates have competed for approximately1.09 lakh MBBS seats, with over 55,000 in government colleges and rest in private institutions. The NEET 2024 result was unexpectedly announced on June 4, 2024 amid the general election results. Meanwhile, the unprecedented declaration of total 67 all-India rank 1 holders sparked concern regarding the fairness of the allocation of grace marks and drew criticism. After the street protest by the aggrieved students and their parents, now the issue is also raising the political temperatures. NSUI is taking active part in the protests seeking justice for the students and seeking Re-NEET and ban imposition on NTA.

As expected, this issue has resulted in political parties resorting to blame game where one party is blaming the other for faulty conduct of the exam. Recently, the Delhi Congress workers protested near the BJP headquarters over the alleged question paper leaks in states such as Bihar and other irregularities in the NEET-UG 2024 examinations. Delhi Congress president Devender Yadav led the demonstration. Economic Offence Unit (EOU) has agreed the paper is leaked but why the government is aligned with the idea that this case is only limited to Bihar. In Latur, Maharashtra, two individuals were arrested; arrests were also made in Devghar, Jharkhand. More recently, the CBI team has reached Gujarat, Godhra for inspection. The leak spread is reaching state to state in a speedy manner. During the first day of the Parliament session, when the Minister of education was taking the oath of the office, the protests erupted at the opposition benches with the leaders shouting “shame shame” even as the Union Minister of Education, Dharmendra Pradhan kept a smile on his face.

Protests are happening in different cities by the students and their parents for the justice they deserve and the questions that must be answered. It’s the message they are spreading trying to evoke emotions and help from the responsible authority, through slogans like  #RENEET”. Three most pivotal steps taken till now are, first, the chief of NTA Subhod Kumar Singh is removed from his position and is replaced by Pradeep Singh; second, the CBI has been appointed to investigate the paper leak; and third, the NEET-PG paper is set to kept on hold. In total, 13 persons have been arrested from Bihar, 6 from Jharkhand, 5 from Gujarat and one from Maharashtra and other four have been booked.

Students have been asking for the re-scheduling of the counselling that is supposed to be on July 6, but the Supreme Court has refused to postpone the NEET -UG counselling process putting it as not straightforward. “Counselling is a process. It only commences from July 6. It will continue for a week. Meanwhile, the applicants have many options…to amend/modify…”  SC told a counsel for a petitioner. There also exists a question on the number 1563. Well, what does this number mean? The Supreme Court recorded the Union government’s submission on June 13 that the score cards of 1,563 candidates granted compensatory marks in the undergraduate medical entrance examination will stand is going to be held on June 23 itself. cancelled and examination for these candidates

Additionally, NTA following its own pattern, has cancelled the UGC-NET examination just a day after the apparent “successful conduct” of the examination by NTA. The exam got postponed due to some “unavoidable circumstances and logistics issues.”  University Grants Commission (UGC- NET) and Joint Council of scientific and industrial Research (CSIR) is scheduled for June 27 to June 27. The examination was cancelled after the ministry received information from the National Cyber Crime threat analytics unit pointing at the potential compromise made which questioned the exams integrity.

A student aspires the whole year to crack a particular exam, it’s the sweat and hard work that is put in that deserve recognition. Such unjust brings upon the destruction of the mental health of the young minds leading to medical cases and the worst-case scenario being suicide. The mistake of the coaching centres, a few students and teachers and most importantly NTA the responsible authority is costing consequences on hundred and thousands of aspirants. “It’s completely unfair, that you make so many sacrifices by taking a one-year drop, the efforts are put not only by us but also our parents, when I saw my marks 640, I was happy with it but when my eyes dropped at the rank there was nothing but confusion as to why this happened,” said a student.