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NEET 2017: Tamil Nadu students to get exemption for a year, says Sitharaman

Barring government colleges, NEET was already implemented for other institutes

Press Trust of India  |  Chennai 

Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of state for commerce and industry
Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Minister today said the Centre will cooperate with if it brings an ordinance seeking exemption from for government colleges for one year.

Responding to her, state Health Minister C Vijayabaskar said an ordinance in this regard would be submitted to the Centre tomorrow morning.

The development comes after Chief Minister K Palaniswami, state ministers and Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai had multiple meetings with Prime Minister and other Central ministers over

Tamil Nadu, which had initially sought permanent exemption from by passing two Bills in the Assembly, later made efforts to be out of its ambit for at least a year or two.

Sitharaman said although students who had qualified in NEET included those from the state board, students from rural were largely out of it.

"The Centre is ready to cooperate in case the Tamil Nadu government comes up with an ordinance seeking exemption from NEET for government colleges," she said adding the exemption was only for a year.

Barring government colleges, NEET was already implemented for other institutes, the Union minister said.

In Puducherry, Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan said the Centre was inclined to accept the representation from Tamil Nadu on NEET.

Terming Sitharaman's remarks a "good news" Vijayabaskar said, "I thank Union Minister and Prime Minister on behalf of Tamil Nadu government and students."

Tomorrow morning the state ordinance seeking exemption from NEET would be submitted to the Centre. A government secretary would be leaving for Delhi tonight and the ordinance would be promulgated after consultations with the chief minister, he said.

The state health minister said the Tamil Nadu government was confident of the Centre's nod for the ordinance and under no circumstances had the Centre been "negative" about the proposal.

"We are seeking exemption only for seats in government colleges and government quota seats in self-financing colleges," he said, adding it was not sought for private institutes.

Vijayabaskar said care is being taken to ensure that the proposed move does not face any legal hurdles and the government was confident of completing the admission process ahead of the month-end deadline.

In future, students would be well-prepared for NEET and the syllabus too would be oriented likewise, he said.

However, Leader of Opposition in Tamil Nadu Assembly hit out at the centre and state governments accusing them of "staging drama" on the issue and "betraying" students.

He said if the BJP-led government at the Centre was truly interested in the welfare of Tamil Nadu students it should get Presidential assent for the two Bills for permanent exemption of the state from NEET.

Actor Kamal Haasan meanwhile, in a tweet, asked the state government to "talk immediately" (with the Centre) on the NEET issue since the matter involved the future of students.

First Published: Sun, August 13 2017. 17:42 IST