Upset Over Medical Exam Bill, MK Stalin Government Snubs Governor

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For nearly a decade, Tamil Nadu made medical admission on basis of Class XII marks.

Chennai:

In a major embarrassment to Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi, the MK Stalin government officially boycotted his “At Home Reception” over what they called his delay in forwarding the NEET Exemption bill to the Union Government even after the Tamil Nadu assembly passed it unanimously twice.

The government’s stand was officially communicated to the Governor by Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu and Health Minister Ma Subramanian.

Mr Thennarasu said, “We have told the Governor that his delay in forwarding the bill to the Union Government for President’s assent is disrespecting the assembly and people’s sentiment and the government thinks it would not able to participate in the At Home Reception”.

“It is regrettable that the Governor has not given any timeline to forward the bill,” he added.

Though the Governor had earlier returned the bill after nearly 200 days, the Tamil Nadu assembly had unanimously adopted the bill again and sent it to him, hoping he would forward it to the Centre as per convention, the minister said.

Tamil Nadu opposes the medical entrance exam NEET, arguing it favours the rich who can afford private coaching and denies opportunity to the rural and economically compromised students who can’t afford it.

For nearly a decade, the state government had made medical admission on basis of Class XII marks.

During the UPA regime the then ruling DMK had obtained presidential assent for a similar bill that had exempted the state from NEET.

The President, however, returned a similar bill passed by the assembly during the AIADMK regime.

The DMK government had constituted the Justice AK Rajan Committee and framed this bill on basis of its recommendations, which the Governor has found fault with.

So far, at least 20 medical degree aspirants in the state, including toppers, have died by suicide, unable to crack NEET. The state government believes the law should permit states to opt out of NEET. Political voices in a few other states too, including neighbouring Karnataka, have started opposing NEET.

The ruling DMK’s strong political message comes as the academic year is coming to an end and the application process for the entrance exam has started. The delay by the Governor would scuttle any possibility of NEET exemption for this year, which was a key poll promise by the party.

This, in fact, is a common cause for all political parties in Tamil Nadu except the BJP.

There has been no communication from the Raj Bhavan on the matter yet. Many are raising questions if a time frame ought to be set for Governors to take a call on issues like this.

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