After the Centre cleared an ordinance to put NEET (National Eligibility Entrance Test) on hold for a year, multiple entrance tests for medical admissions are back. As a result, several states including the two Telugu states—Andhra Pradesh and Telangana—have reverted to their own medical entrance tests, triggering confusion among the students.
It is likely that NEET-2, scheduled to be held on 24 July, would be redundant as lakhs of students would now be appearing for separate tests to be conducted by state boards and private colleges. NEET-1 was held on 1 May. The ordinance, however, is likely to be challenged before the Supreme Court, which is firm on NEET.
Andhra Pradesh, which had conducted its EAMCET (engineering, agriculture and medical common entrance test) on 29 April, released the test ranks on Saturday.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said around 22 medical and dental colleges in AP would go by the EAMCET ranks this year.
Telangana, which conducted its EAMCET on 15 May, apparently for admission to only agriculture and veterinary courses, is now planning to hold EAMCET-2 for medical and dental courses in the first week of July. The Telangana government will decide on Monday whether students who appeared for EAMCET-1 should be allowed for EAMCET-2.
Officials in the medical education departments of AP and Telangana told this newspaper that private medical and dental colleges would be permitted to conduct their own tests again.
The AP private medical colleges’ association wanted to hold a separate entrance test on 13 May, while their counterpart in Telangana had scheduled it on Friday. In both states, the tests were cancelled as the apex court was firm on not allowing any private tests other than NEET.
If private medical colleges in AP and Telangana were allowed to hold their own tests, the donation or fee of Category B (35% seats to be filled under the management quota through a test conducted by them) would go up to Rs 1 crore per seat. Category A is for 50% seats through EAMCET, while the remaining 15% seats would be “sold” to NRIs (for which no entrance test is required).
The fee for NRI seats (the students recommended by NRIs) in private colleges is around Rs 1.5 crore for MBBS and Rs 60 lakh for BDS (dental). If NEET was made compulsory, private colleges would have followed the same ranks and the fees would have been under control.
But now that the private colleges are allowed to conduct their own entrance tests, they can pick their candidates.
However, AP medical and health minister Kamineni Srinivas told The Sunday Guardian on Saturday that the government is yet to decide on allowing private medical colleges to hold their own entrance tests for this year. Even Telangana medical and health minister C. Lakshma Reddy voiced the same opinion.
But the governmentd and private colleges’ managements are already rejoicing the Centre’s decision to promulgate an ordinance allowing states to defer NEET for a year. Both Srinivas and Lakshma Reddy claimed on Saturday the Centre issued the ordinance because of their pressure.
In Tamil Nadu, AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa too had promised that she would bring in a law avoiding NEET for Tamil students forever if she returned to power. Now that Jayalalithaa has come back to power, it remains to be seen whether she would follow the Centre or bring in a separate law for Tamil Nadu, making NEET inapplicable.