The decision was taken after protests from a number of states and medical colleges over Supreme Court order making NEET a must for all states.
This decision of the Centre to postpone the implementation of NEET for the admission of undergraduate medical and dental courses in various state-owned institutions by a year, has brought much relief for the 65,000 odd medical aspirants in West Bengal.
In total, there are 22 state medical board examinations conducted by states in the country for which lakhs of students appear annually.
The Ordinance, however, to defer the top court’s order would not prove beneficial for private medical colleges. According to a health ministry official, the Ordinance cleared by the Union Cabinet, which was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is not about rejecting the NEET pattern of examination; rather states as well as students have been given 12 months’ time to get ready for the single entrance examination.
“Even after the Ordinance, the second edition of NEET would happen as per the schedule as private medical colleges would have to admit students on the basis of NEET scorecard. There is no compulsion for states to take NEET qualified students as after today’s decision, they would select medical aspirants on the basis of examinations conducted by respective state medical boards,” the official added.
The West Bengal government is now all set to conduct its own medical entrance examination which is likely to take place in coming June. It would conduct the examination for 85 per cent of its state quota seats. Around 2,900 medical seats in West Bengal will be filled up through state medical entrance examinations. A senior official of the state joint entrance examination said that they are planning to conduct the exam on June 19.
The medical aspirants in West Bengal were anxious ever since the Supreme Court had ordered in favour of implementation of NEET throughout the country. Following this, various state governments including West Bengal appealed to the Apex Court urging it not to enforce the single medical entrance examination from this year as the students would be greatly inconvenienced as the NEET syllabus is completely unknown to them and they would hardly get enough time for the preparation.