Months long controversies surrounding the NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) hasn’t helped in bringing it much acceptance or allegiance from medical aspirants. Approximately 56,000 seats have been made available across the country for MBBS and BDS, through All India and State quotas, in government colleges. This number, when compared to the total annual medical undergraduate seats filled in the country, is very miniscule. Leaving out some states as participants in the counselling process, and competing with some other state exams, the NEET has found less popularity with this year’s medical aspirants. Only 15% of the All India Quota seats are to be filled through the NEET counselling process. The remaining 85% seats will be filled through state quota in government colleges based on NEET merit list. Private medical colleges have refused to participate in counselling.
For many aspirants, NEET was redundant and moot, owing to the timing of the government’s notification to make the exam compulsory. Kawal Gupta from IITians PACE, Mumbai, says, “All our students have taken the CET and applied to colleges based on it. NEET was a backup option, since the notification for the exam came in just one month before the exam date.” Even the NEET 2016 toppers did not have much to rejoice for, since they were already admitted to AIIMS for the academic year. Het Shah, AIR 1 in NEET 2016, said, “I secured AIR 4 in the AIIMS MBBS entrance exam and I am currently studying at AIIMS, my dream college.” The NEET AIR 3 too, is currently studying in AIIMS. Students in Maharashtra have already applied to medical colleges in the state through CET marks, the results for which were released in July and allocation process ended in August first week.
Despite such negation for the exam, the government seems to be quite adamant over imposing the NEET on aspirants and colleges alike. A recent government order to fill all seats including management and NRI quotas in private medical colleges in Kerala through NEET merit list has created uproar amongst private college managements in the state. Read here. While the northern most state of Jammu and Kashmir, and the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana refused to participate in the newfound complex counselling system, Kerala is still struggling to pacify protests against the government’s newer dictates. Maharashtra and West Bengal too, have sought to give more important to their state entrance tests, CET and WBJEE respectively.
On the other hand, there are some supporters of NEET who have suggested that having a single exam across the nation will bring in more regularity and accountability in admission process to colleges. Comparing the NEET to JEE, Akash Coaching Institute, said, “The initial years of nationalising the exam will involve some compromises and critics. But once it finds stable waters, it may receive credibility like the JEE, today.” As of now, the NEET has only been sidelined by many students and medical colleges. However, newer and more formal changes in the next academic year may help bring in better valuation for the exam.