Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin has written to his counterparts in 11 non-BJP ruled states and Goa, seeking their support to oppose the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test and restore “the primacy of states” in education, the government said on Monday.
Also, Stalin has deputed his party MPs to reach out to the heads of such states to drum up support. In a letter to his counterparts, the Chief Minister reiterated his government’s opposition to NEET.
“Our considered position has always been that the move by the union government to introduce NEET goes against the spirit of federalism and violates the constitutional balance of power by curbing the rights of the state governments to decide on the method of admission in the medical institutions founded, established and run by them,” he said.
The state governments need to assert their constitutional right and position in deciding the method of admission to their higher educational institutions, Stalin urged in a letter dated October 1, made available to the media on Monday.
The CM enclosed a copy of the Justice A K Rajan Committee report based on which a Bill was passed in the Assembly last month to dispense with NEET and provide for admission to medical courses based on Class 12 marks to ensure social justice. Also, a copy of that Bill, passed on September 13, was attached. Stalin requested them to peruse the attached documents and extend their support to ensure that the students in the respective states, hailing from rural areas and marginalised sections of the society are not put to hardship in obtaining admissions to higher educational institutions.
“We need to put up a united effort to restore the primacy of state governments in administering the education sector, as envisaged in our Constitution. I look forward to your cooperation in this crucial issue.” Stalin wrote to the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, West Bengal and Goa.
The Justice Rajan panel, constituted by the government to ascertain the impact of NEET in the state, had submitted its 165-page report in July. The Bill, quoting the panel report, had said if NEET continued for a few more years, the health care system of Tamil Nadu would be very badly affected and there may not be enough doctors for postings in Primary Health Centres or state-run hospitals and that the rural and urban poor may not be able to join the medical courses.
The committee had concluded that the NEET is not a fair or equitable method of admission since it favours the rich and elite section of the society and is against the disadvantaged groups.
The panel had recommended that “the state government may undertake immediate steps to eliminate NEET from being used in admission to medical programmes at all levels by following the required legal and or legislative procedures.”