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“Isolated incidents should not impact thousands of meritorious students who have deservedly passed the exam,” says Pradhan amid calls for cancellation of NEET UG

“Isolated incidents should not impact thousands of meritorious students who have deservedly passed the exam,” says Pradhan amid calls for cancellation of NEET UG

NEW DELHI: Amid intense controversy and calls from the opposition to redo the NEET-UG medical entrance exam, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday said that isolated cases of misconduct should not harm the thousands of students who legitimately passed the exam. Terming the leak of UGC-NET exam papers as an “institutional failure” of the National Testing Agency (NTA), he announced that the government would form a high-level panel to probe the agency’s operations.

Addressing a press conference here, Pradhan also appealed to opposition parties not to politicize the issue and said strict action would be taken against those found guilty, including “senior” NTA officials.

Ahead of the hastily called press conference, there were strong indications that the minister might announce the cancellation of the review and prosecution of NTA Director General Subodh Kumar Singh, who was summoned by the ministry over early in the day.

Pradhan, however, did not respond affirmatively to both questions.

“Whether it is the NTA or any senior official or high-ranking person of the NTA, strict action will be taken against anyone found guilty in the NEET case. No malpractice will be tolerated and the government is committed to conducting error-free examinations,” he said.

The press conference came a day after the ministry ordered the cancellation of the UGC-NET after receiving reports that the sanctity of the exam had been compromised.

“The cancellation of UGC-NET was not a knee-jerk reaction. We obtained evidence that the document had leaked on the darknet and was circulating on (messaging app) Telegram and decided to cancel the review .The paper leak is an institutional failure of the NTA. We assure you that there will be a reform committee and action will be taken,” Pradhan said.

He evaded repetitive queries on whether NEET would also be canceled on NET lines. Pradhan also did not comment on the timetable by when a final decision will be taken on the issue, which is keeping 23 lakh candidates in suspense.

“It is unfair to hold the careers of candidates who legitimately passed the exam hostage due to a few isolated incidents of malpractice.

“We are in constant touch with the Bihar Police. We have asked them for a report. Once we have it, we will decide on the further course of action. I take full responsibility for it and the anomalies in the system will be rectified,” declared the minister. .

“Let us have confidence in our systems and no irregularities or bad practices will be tolerated by the government,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the government, saying “it has been said that Prime Minister Modi has ended the war between Ukraine and Russia and the war between Israel and Gaza, but is unable to stop the leaking of exam papers. or doesn’t want to.

Asked about the opposition parties’ attacks, Pradhan said, “I appeal to the opposition not to politicize this issue.”

“Let us have confidence in our systems and no irregularities or bad practices will be tolerated by the government,” he said.

The NEET-UG exam was held on May 5 at 4,750 centers and around 24 lakh candidates appeared for it. The results were due to be announced on June 14 but were announced on June 4, indicating that the evaluation of the answer sheets had been completed earlier.

As many as 67 students scored a perfect score of 720, an unprecedented result in the history of NTA, with six from a center in Faridabad, Haryana, making the list, raising suspicions of irregularities. It was alleged that grace marks contributed to 67 students sharing the top rank.

NEET-UG exam is conducted by NTA for admission to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country.