CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin declared on Thursday that an all-party conference will be held on January 8 in Chennai to examine the state’s demand for exemption from NEET, since an Assembly bill in this respect is pending with the Centre. The Chief Minister alleged that the Centre had not moved on the Tamil Nadu Assembly Bill requesting exemption from NEET, despite an all-party delegation led by DMK Lok Sabha member T R Baalu failing to get an appointment with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday.
“The State Government has summoned an all-party conference on January 8 to determine the next plan of action,” Stalin informed the state Assembly.
He appealed to the leaders of various political parties with representation in the Assembly to extend their cooperation to the critical issue confronting the State’s students, particularly those from rural backgrounds, in a statement read on the House floor under Rule 110.
Recalling the unanimous Assembly bill against NEET that was passed in the House in September, Stalin stated that “our campaign against NEET and for social justice will continue” based on the choices made at the Saturday all-party conference.
He underlined that NEET was detrimental to rural students’ interests, alleging that the Centre had “snatched away” states’ rights to decide how to conduct medical admissions through the entrance test, with the state wishing to do so only on the basis of Class XII scores.
He claimed that the Bill sent to the Governor earlier had not been forwarded to the President of India, and that he had personally raised the issue with the Governor, after which a Baalu-led delegation submitted a memorandum to the President’s office protesting NEET and the “losses” suffered by students, as well as the delay in getting the exemption.
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He noted that the concerned representation was now with the Union Home Ministry.
Tamil Nadu has been seeking exemption from the National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test, and the matter has emotional overtones in the state, with a few medical aspirants apparently committing suicide as a result of low grades or fears of failing the exam.