New Delhi: The Central government on Friday issued an ordinance to postpone the implementation of NEET or the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test - the common entrance test for medical and dental courses - for state governments and their affiliated institutions by a year so that the students have enough time to prepare.
The Centre issued the ordinance following clearance from the Union Cabinet this morning. Talking to reporters, Union health Minister JP Nadda said, ''Some states have issues, I assure all that we will resolve the matter very soon.''
The NEET issue is still being reviewed, he added. The ordinance needs to be approved by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, to come into effect. However, a petition was filed against the Centre's move in the Supreme Court.
This isn't in the interest of the students or the nation, we will challenge this ordinance, said Amit Kumar, petitioners' lawyer challenging the NEET ordinance
Earlier today, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him not to bring any order against the Supreme Court ruling on NEET, saying the students had welcomed the decision as it discouraged well endowed parents from making 'donations' to get their children admitted into reputed private medical colleges.
The exam, however, will be applicable for those applying for Central government and private management institutions under the management quota.
The decision to issue an ordinance was taken in the aftermath of several meetings between Union Health Minister JP Nadda and state health ministers to discuss the issue.
The state government representatives had asked the Centre to consider the stress the students will face if uncertainty prevailed.
The central government had earlier held two rounds of hectic deliberations to build consensus before taking the Ordinance route.
JP Nadda first held meetings with health ministers of 14 states. Another meeting was later held between leaders of the Congress, the INLD, Left and PDP and Union finance minister Arun Jaitley.
So far 6.5 lakh students have already sat for the first phase of NEET held on May 1. The next phase of the exam is scheduled for July 24.
Last month, the Supreme Court said that students need to take only one common entrance test, the NEET, for entry to medical colleges, following a large number of complaints about corruption in a situation where all state governments and private medical colleges held their own exams.
But after the court's order, several states - including Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu - had said the implementation of the common entrance test should be deferred by a year.