Bengal CM Mamata Urges PM Modi to Scrap NEET in Latest Letter

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, urging him to abolish the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and return to the previous system where states conducted their own medical entrance exams. She raised serious concerns about the current NEET system, highlighting issues such as paper leaks, bribery, and other malpractices that have jeopardized the careers of many students.

In her letter, Banerjee emphasized that the alleged corruption and irregularities in NEET compromise the quality of medical education and healthcare in the country. She argued that the decentralized system, which existed before 2017, was more effective as it aligned better with regional curricula and educational standards. Banerjee pointed out that states invest significantly in the education and training of medical students and should have the authority to select these students through their own entrance exams.

The Chief Minister criticized the centralized NEET system for violating the federal structure of the country and leading to widespread corruption. She asserted that the current system benefits only the wealthy who can afford to pay bribes, while meritorious students from poor and middle-class backgrounds suffer. Banerjee urged the central government to immediately restore the previous system to ensure fairness and restore the confidence of aspiring medical students.

Banerjee’s letter comes in the wake of recent controversies surrounding NEET and UGC-NET exams. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a criminal case over alleged irregularities in the conduct of NEET by the National Testing Agency (NTA) and formed special teams to investigate. According to the CBI’s FIR, there were “isolated incidents” of misconduct during the NEET (UG) 2024 exam held on May 5.

The NEET (UG) 2024 exam was conducted by the NTA across 4,750 centers in 571 cities, including 14 international locations, with over 23 lakh candidates appearing. The unprecedented achievement of perfect scores by 67 candidates led to widespread protests and further scrutiny of the examination process. In response, the Ministry of Education has set up a high-level committee of experts to recommend reforms in the examination process and improvements in data security protocols.

Banerjee concluded her letter by strongly urging the central government to consider her request and take immediate steps to abolish NEET and reinstate the state-conducted entrance exams. She believes this move will help restore normalcy and the confidence of students in the medical admission process.

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