New Delhi: Union Health Minister JP Nadda on Tuesday said that the presidential nod to the Centre's Ordinance on uniform medical entrance examination (NEET) that keeps state boards out of its purview has given it a much-needed statutory support.
Addressing a press briefing on the issue, Health Minister JP Nadda said, ''Through this ordinance, NEET has been given a statutory support.''
Maintaining that NEET or the common medical entrance examination has been implemented from May 1, the Health Minister said, ''In some sections of media, it was coming that NEET has been deferred. I want to make it clear that in fact it has been implemented.''
The Health Minister said while states will be able to hold the undergraduate exams, the postgraduate exams to be held in December will be under NEET.
The central government was committed to implementing NEET but the states expressed their concerns which had to be addressed, Nadda said.
"State governments wanted exemption and the issues were related to parity of syllabus and option of giving exam in regional languages," Nadda said.
"After due consultation, we came out with an Ordinance, which provides NEET a statutory basis and where we give state governments an option to conduct examination and those who have conducted exams to go forward in that direction," he said.
State governments will get an opportunity to appear this year (2016-17) for under-graduate examinations. But this year from December, the post-graduation examination will be held under NEET provisions, Nadda added.
The reactions from the Health Minister came shortly after President Pranab Mukherjee gave his nod to the Centre's Ordinance or the executive order which puts on hold the common medical exam NEET for a year.
The President gave his consent after seeking more information and clarification on few points from the Union Health Ministry over its decision to bring an Ordinance on uniform medical entrance examination NEET that sought to keep state boards out of its purview.
This was conveyed to Union Health Minister JP Nadda who had met the President on Monday afternoon to brief him about the need for bringing the Executive Order. The meeting lasted for more than half-an-hour and the minister reportedly briefed the President on three set of issues -- different exams of state boards, syllabi and regional languages.
The Ordinance was sent to the President on Saturday.
The Ordinance, cleared by the Union Cabinet earlier on Friday, is aimed at "partially" overturning a Supreme Court order which said all government colleges, deemed universities and private medical colleges would be covered under NEET.
The ordinance exempts certain state boards from the ambit of National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for a year. The exempted states include Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Punjab.
The next phase of the exam is scheduled for July 24. Nearly 6.5 lakh students have already taken the medical entrance test in the first phase of NEET held on May 1.
Health Ministry sources earlier said that seven states will take medical exams as per NEET while in six other states, around 4 lakh students have already taken the examinations.