Assembly condemns regularities in tests held by NTA

The Assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution condemning the irregularities in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by the National Testing Agency.

The allegation of widespread corruption, irregularities and financial transactions in connection with NEET-Undergraduate exam was made by Left Democratic Front MLA M. Vijin in a resolution “regarding the serious situation that has arisen due to the irregularities in conducting NEET.”

In his motion, which was also backed by LDF and United Democratic Front members in the House, Mr. Vijin questioned how the Central government could ensure national security when it was unable to securely hold entrance exams in the country.

After a two-hour-long discussion in the Assembly, a substantive resolution was passed demanding that the Centre take urgent steps to address the grievances of affected candidates and carry out a comprehensive investigation into the irregularities in the conduct of the entrance exams.

Both the ruling LDF and the opposition Congress-led UDF were also in agreement that the recently reported irregularities in the NEET-UG and UGC-NET exams call into question the National Testing Agency’s credibility and its competence to conduct such entrance tests. They were also of the view that such incidents call into question the competence of the students or candidates — who purportedly cheated — to take these tests.

The Opposition and the LDF also accused the Centre of modifying the education policy of the country to suit the political interests of the main ruling party at the Centre.

Subsequently, Higher Education Minister R. Bindu moved a resolution condemning the manner in which the NTA was functioning and the support given to it by the Centre. The resolution also demanded that the Union government take urgent measures to address the grievances of affected students and candidates who took the NEET and NET exams.

The resolution was unanimously passed by the House.

Amidst the discussions, UDF MLA, P. C. Vishnunadh said the resolution should also include a demand that the States be allowed to conduct the entrance exams from now on, but the LDF government said that such a resolution can be moved later.

During the discussion, Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan alleged that there have been irregularities in the Public Service Commission exams in Kerala as well and urged the State government to learn from these incidents to prevent them in the future.

Mr. Vijin referred to Godhra in Gujarat and Patna in Bihar as two reportedly primary centres of the irregularities. He alleged that in Godhra, students whose parents were willing to pay lakhs of rupees for getting a good rank in NEET, were asked by the exam mafia to leave their exam papers blank, which were later correctly filled up by the teachers who were a part of it. In Patna, question papers were leaked a day before the exam and around 35 students, whose parents paid around ₹30 lakh each, benefitted from the same, he further alleged.

Mr. Vijin also claimed that the release of the NEET results was advanced to June 4 instead of the initial date of June 14 so that the Lok Sabha poll results would overshadow the NEET test outcome irregularities. “This indicates there was an agenda behind all this,” he said.

Mr. Vijin, in his motion, also accused the BJP and the Centre of trying to “saffronise” the NET exam as well as the education system in the country.

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