Shuffling NEET officials no solution: Kharge

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Shuffling NEET officials no solution: Kharge

Monday, 24 June 2024 | Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

The Congress on Sunday hit out at the Modi Government over the bureaucratic reshuffle in the National Testing Agency (NTA) after alleged irregularities in NEET-UG, saying the buck stops at the doorstep of the top echelons of the regime.

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that the National Testing Agency (NTA) was projected to be an autonomous body, but in reality was made to serve the “devious interests” of the BJP/RSS.

 “In the NEET scam, the buck stops at the doorstep of the top echelons of the Modi Government. Shuffling the bureaucrats is no solution to the endemic problem in the Education system rotted by the BJP,” he said in a post on X.  For students to get justice, Modi government must be held accountable, he said.

 The Centre on Saturday had shunted out NTA’s Director General Subodh Singh and handed over the probe into the irregularities in medical entrance exam NEET-UG to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

 The Education Ministry has also set up a seven-member panel headed by former ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan to review the agency’s functioning and recommend exam reforms.  It also postponed the NEET-PG entrance, the fourth entrance examination to be impacted in recent days.

Kharge said the NEET-PG Exam has been postponed and in all four examinations have been either cancelled or postponed in the past 10 days.

 “Paper Leaks, Corruption, Irregularities and Education Mafia has infiltrated our Education system,” he alleged. “This belated whitewashing exercise is of no consequence as countless youth continue to suffer,” Kharge said.

 Slamming the postponement of the NEET PG exam, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi charged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “helpless” before the paper leak racket and “education mafia”. “Now NEET PG has been postponed. This is another unfortunate example of the ruined education system under Narendra Modi’s rule. In BJP rule, students are not forced to study to save their careers, but are forced to fight with the government to save their future.  Now it is clear, after silently watching the spectacle every time, Modi is helpless before the paper leak racket and Education Mafia,” he said in a post in Hindi on X.

 “Narendra Modi’s incompetent government is the biggest threat to the future of students and we must save the future of the country from it,” he added.

 Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also attacked the Modi government over the alleged irregularities in national competitive exams, including the NEET-UG, alleging that it has handed over the entire education system to the “mafia” and the “corrupt”.

 In a post on X, she the NEET-UG question paper was “leaked” while the NEET-PG, UGC-NET and CSIR-NET exams were “cancelled”.

 Earlier, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, “No day is complete without news of cancellation of an exam because of the total incompetence of the non- biological PM and the people around him”. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) demanded Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s resignation amid a raging controversy around the National Testing Agency (NTA) in the wake of paper-leak allegations and cancellations of exams.

 In a statement issued here on Sunday, the CPI (M) politburo said it is “deeply anguished over the sinister developments which have engulfed the centralised all-India examination processes”.

 Mentioning examinations like the NEET-PG and UGC-NET, which have been cancelled, the Left party said, “The combined impact of this are irregularities and complete collapse of the processes which affects vital sectors of higher education in the country.”

The statement said it is not just a result of corruption, but also of centralisation, commercialisation and communalisation of education.

 “This is not merely the result of corruption, which is prima facie established. This has emerged from centralisation, commercialisation and communalisation in the education sphere and which is an essential ingredient of the National Education Policy,” it said.

 The CPI(M) said asking the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the allegations is an approach to “whitewash” and demanded the minister’s resignation as well as the scrapping of the NEET.

 “The new government summoning the services of the CBI to investigate these scams confirms its approach to whitewash, like it did with the Vyapam scam. These reflect the complete collapse of the policy prescriptions in higher education for which the entire government is accountable, particularly the HRD minister. He must resign,” the statement said.

 “The politburo demands that in a country as big and as diverse as India, the centralisation of governance of higher education should be reversed and the first step should be to scrap the centralised NEET exams,” the Left party said.

 Every state should be allowed their own separate procedures for conducting admission tests to regulate entry into professional educational institutions, it added.

 On Saturday, the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET)-PG, conducted for admission to postgraduate medical courses and scheduled to be held on June 23, was postponed as a “precautionary measure” in the wake of recent allegations on the integrity of some competitive exams, including the NEET-Undergraduate (UG).

 On Friday, the June edition of the Joint Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test (CSIR-NET) was postponed citing unavoidable circumstances and logistical issues.

 It came two days after the agency cancelled the University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET) within 24 hours of its conduct, saying the integrity of the exam had been compromised and a massive row has erupted regarding the NEET-UG over alleged irregularities, with the issue now before the Supreme Court.

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