SC Decrees 25 Years As Minimum Age for NEET 2019

Supreme court on Thursday pronounced its judgement on the forthcoming NEET undergraduate exam 2019 for MBBS and BDS, imposing an minimum age limit of 25 years to appear for the exam.

The top court said the final admission would be subject to the final outcome of the case on validity of CBSE decision to fix upper age limit.

The top court has extended the last date for submitting filled NEET forms by a week to enable aspirants who did not qualify under the earlier age criteria to apply.

The last date for submitting forms was tomorrow.

The Central Board of Secondary Education, or CBSE, had notified the upper age limit of 25 and 30 years for general and reserved categories respectively to apply for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET)-UG, a pre-qualification for pursuing MBBS course.

The Supreme Court’s decision comes in the matter of Medical Council of India’s (MCI) decision to keep an upper age limit for NEET for admission to medical colleges.

The court had earlier agreed to examine the validity of an amendment to the MCI Regulations on Graduate Medical Education of 1997. The amendment that was notified on January 22, stipulated an upper age limit of 25 years for general category candidates and of 30 years for those belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes (OBC) as well as those is the physically handicapped categories.

The Delhi High Court had on May 11 upheld the regulation. It had held that a 17- or 18-year-old candidate will find it difficult to compete with older and more experienced candidates.

Senior advocate Amarendra Sharan, arguing for the petitioners, told the court the regulation is artificial and serves no real objective. “The Regulation is bad as per the (MCI Oversight) Committee as well as the central government that has recommended deletion of the upper age limit as the country needs more doctors,” the lawyer said.

But the bench noted that the regulations are in exercise of legislative power to which Sharan replied: “When candidates secure higher marks, it increases competition, resulting in better doctors.”


Free coaching for JEE, NEET and UGC-NET students, Registration begins September 1

NTA will avail coaching services for higher education free of cost to students. The National Testing Agency (NTA) which is a premier, specialist, autonomous and self-sustained testing organisation conducting entrance examinations for admission or fellowship in higher educational institutions. The NTA will convert its 2,697 test practice centers into teaching centers from next year.

These practice centers will become functional from September 8, said an official of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The ministry official said, “The plan is to take these centers beyond just practice tests and turn them into teaching centers. They will not charge any fees and so will be especially helpful for talented students from sections where aspirations are high but private coaching is impossible due to financial constraints.”

Students hailing from rural and semi-urban centers will also stand to benefit. Although these centers will become functional this year, the teaching will begin from May 2019 only.

How NTA’s practice test centers will function as coaching institutes:

Step 1: NTA will allow all the aspirants to sit for a mock test for the JEE-Main that is scheduled for January 2019.

Step 2: Once the results of the mock test are out, the students will be able to analyse their results with the NTA mentors.

Step 3: Once the teaching component of the test practice centers begins, the teachers at the institutes will help the students with their problems.

It must be noted that aspirants will have to register for slots at the test practice centers through the mobile app or NTA’s official website. Only registered candidates will get to sit for the tests. Students who register with the testing agency through a mobile app and website can appear for mock tests for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test-UG (NEET-UG) and the University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET). NTA will launch the mobile application and websites for registration on September 1.

The online registration process for UGC-NET 2018 and JEE-Main will also begin on September 1. Registrations will continue till September 30. Not just this, the testing agency will launch a mobile application to help an aspirant identify the center closest to their location.

Although the government offering coaching for higher studies free of the cost comes as a welcome step for scores of needy students, this will hamper the private coaching centers that offer coaching services to students at a much higher price.

Private Colleges Admitting Zero And Less Scorers In NEET

In the NEET entrance exam, at least 400 students who scored single-digit marks in Physics and Chemistry and 110 students who got zero or negative marks were admitted in private colleges for MBBS course in 2017. The admission of students regardless of the marks they secured raises questions over the purpose of the exam.

A report states that out of the 1990 students who got admission into MBBS course with NEET scores of less than 720 in 2017, 530 students secured single-digit marks, zero or negative scores in Physics and Chemistry or both. Out of the 530, 507 candidates were admitted in private medical colleges.

NEET does not have a cut-off for individual subjects like Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The entrance exam does not specify the minimum marks in each paper. Thus the report concludes that students who can afford Rs 17 lakh per annum find their way into medical colleges despite securing negligible marks in NEET.

Originally the common entrance exam stipulated that only those candidates who secured above 50 per cent (or 40 per cent in the case of reserved categories) in individual subjects were eligible for admission to medical or dental colleges. Later, a Medical Council of India (MCI) notification in February 2012 indicated that the eligibility criteria for NEET entrance exam have been changed from 50% and 40% to 50th and 40th percentile.


TK Rangarajan Demanding Stay Order On Madras High Court Ruling On NEET

Despite the HC order on Tuesday, the Medical Council of India has decided to carry on with the counselling for medical college admissions in Tamil Nadu.CPI (M) Member of Parliament (MP) TK Rangarajan filed a caveat in the Supreme Court on Wednesday anticipating Central Board of Secondary Education’s appeal, seeking a stay on the Madras High Court ruling on NEET. The Madurai bench of Madras HC had, on Tuesday, ordered the CBSE to give 196 grace marks to the students who had taken the NEET in Tamil.

He also added that he wants the government to create more seats in government and private medical colleges and that if the affected students get admissions in private colleges, the extra fees over and above the amount payable in government medical colleges be borne by the government. But despite the order from the Madras HC, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has decided to continue counselling saying that the order has not been issued to it directly.

“Neither MCI nor the ministry has received direct orders from the Court in this regard so we have decided to keep the process of counselling on,” said a senior health ministry official in the medical education division as per reports. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar said that the state government would stand by the students and ‘safeguard their rights’.  He also said that as the court direction was to the CBSE, it was not necessary for the State to file a caveat despite the Health Secretary being a respondent in the order.

The Madras HC order came after the MP had filed a petition in the HC seeking the court to direct the government to conduct medical admissions in Tamil Nadu based solely on Class XII marks or award 196 grace marks to students who had attempted the test in Tamil.  The court had then directed the CBSE to award 196 marks – four marks each for the 49 questions that were mistranslated in the Tamil question paper.  The court also ordered the CBSE to release a revised rank list based on the new marks within two weeks.

This move by the Madras HC bench will benefit around 24,000 students who had taken the NEET in Tamil.