The Centre has swung into action to cleanse the system of medical education following the NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) scam.
According to sources, the new governing body of National Board of Examinations (NBE) is planning to hire Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) as a technology partner for conducting the NEET post graduate test for the next NEET, likely to be held either in December this year, January next year.
Besides NEET PG, other examinations of NBE like FMGT, DNB may also be conducted by the TCS, which is the authorised agency for AIIMS and many other bodies. The NBE is an autonomous body under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), which is headed by J.P. Nadda. A US-based agency “Prometric” was conducting the test for the NBE till now. While the agency would do all the arrangements and scoring, the questions were set by the NBE.
According to sources, the change in the agency will come as a relief to the students taking tests for the superspeciality streams, the Foreign Medical Graduate Test (FMGT), which gives license to foreign medical graduates to practise in India, and the Diplomate of National Board (DNB), which awards post graduate degrees. There have been charges of irregularities in all these examinations.
The board, which recently suspended and then subsequently terminated Bipin Batra from the post of executive director of the NBE, is also holding an internal enquiry for charges against his alleged illegal appointment and also financial irregularities. The Board removed Batra from the post after the MoHFW raised the issue of his alleged illegal appointment. Following this, the governing body decided to appoint Rashmi Kant Dave as the honorary executive director.
This is to be noted that a large number of irregularities were reported in last NEET held in December 2016 after which the government is trying to put the house in order so that such incidents are not reported in the next NEET. Social activist Anand Rai has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court demanding a CBI enquiry into the NEET scam. A separate petition has also been filed by Gautam Kumar on the irregularities in the test.
The court has issued notices to Batra in the case related to his illegal appointment. The court has also issued notices to NBE ED in rest other cases.
The All India Foreign Medical Graduates Association (AIFMGA), which has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court questioning Batra’s appointment, said Batra’s termination will not serve the purpose and that he should be removed from the NBE. It has, however, appreciated the government’s efforts to cleanse the system of conducting examination.
According to sources, the governing body of the NBE may take a final call on removing him from the Board in November after the internal enquiry report is out. “The enquiry committee is also looking at the complaints of manipulations in appointments and promotions of about half a dozen Board officials under Batra,” said a source.
Beside the NEET PG scam, the NBE is also in the eye of storm over the way it conducts Foreign Medical Graduate Test (FMGT), a screening test for foreign doctors to practise in India, on behalf of the Medical Council of India (MCI). It has been alleged that the screening test is not transparent. According to Indians who did their MBBS in foreign countries, this is being done deliberately by the MCI, which is under the grip of powerful private medical college lobby, to discourage students from going abroad so that they enroll themselves within the country by shelling out a hefty amount.