President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday sought more information and clarification on few points from the Health Ministry over the decision to bring an Ordinance on uniform medical entrance examination NEET that seeks to keep state boards out of its purview.
The need for more information was conveyed to Health Minister J P Nadda who called on the President this afternoon to brief him about the need for bringing the Executive Order before the latter leaves for China tomorrow.
Nadda met Mukherjee and briefed him on the Ordinance on the uniform medical entrance examination NEET that seeks to keep state boards out of its ambit.
The meeting lasted for more than half-an-hour and the minister is learnt to have briefed the President on three set of issues—different exams of state boards, syllabi and regional languages.
The President had asked Nadda's ministry to explain the reason for taking the Ordinance route to keep state boards out of the ambit of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).
The meeting between the President and the Health Minister was satisfactory, sources said.
The Ordinance was on Saturday sent to the President, who is to leave for China on Tuesday. Nadda was to attend a health summit in Geneva but had to cancel the trip to meet the President. 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 President has also sought the opinion of in-house legal experts on the Ordinance. The assent of the President is still awaited. Clarifying that the exemption is only for the state government seats, government sources had said the state seats which are earmarked in the private medical colleges have also been exempted.
Different states earmark seats in various private medical colleges for state quota so that students from one state can get seats in another state.
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 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.
The states flagged various issues in the health ministers' conference recently, including problems related to language and syllabus for students.
They said the students affiliated to state boards will find it tough to appear for the uniform test as early as July.
Sources maintained that the ordinance is not to challenge the Supreme Court order.
Nadda had earlier dismissed as "baseless" the media reports that the Centre through an ordinance was trying to finish NEET. "NEET has been implemented. It is in existence. The first phase is over. The second phase will take place on July 24," he had said. The exam will be applicable for those applying for Central government and private medical colleges.
Once the ordinance is issued, students of state government boards will not have to sit for NEET on July 24. They, however, will have to become part of the uniform entrance exam from next academic session, government sources clarified.