Following constant pressure from the state government, the Centre has finally decided to conduct national level medical entrance examination, National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) in eight languages, including Bengali.
The Union Health Ministry after consulting various state governments on the examination pattern and other related aspects, announced that aspirants appearing in these regional languages can compete in the national level.
The Centre also changed its earlier position in this regard and allowed the candidates with regional languages to appear and compete in the national level seats.
The students writing their papers in any of the languages – Hindi, English, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Telugu and Tamil will now be able to compete for all the medical seats in the country.
On December 9, Anupriya Patel, the Minister of State for Health in the Centre in a written reply in the Lok Sabha stated that the NEET 2017 will be held in Hindi, English, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu.
No criteria were fixed for rural students under the All India Quota seats.
This implied that the students, who will appear in the NEET in the given 6 Regional Languages, will not be eligible for the all India seats.
The All India seats include 15 per cent reserved seats for AIPMT(4,000 seats), Central government patronised colleges like Vardhman Mahavir Medical College New Delhi, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, Banaras Hindu University, Banaras etc (500 seats), private
medical colleges (24,500 seats) and private dental colleges (5,000 seats).
If the decision was implemented, the students opting for the NEET in all 6 Regional Languages would not have been able to compete in 34,000 seats approximately whereas those who would be appearing in the exam in Hindi would be eligible for admission to all these seats along with their state quota seats.
Sensing the gravity of the situation, Dr AK Maity from the city had written to the Prime Minister seeking his intervention as the decision was contrary to the Indian Constitution.
Following tremendous pressure from various fronts the Centre rolled back its earlier decision. Dr Maity in his letter pointed out that in medical curriculum, the medium of instruction is English and not Hindi.
There is not a single medical book in Hindi. English is the only medium of medical education in India.
It may be mentioned that the senior state government officials had met their counterparts in the Union Health Ministry earlier urging them to introduce Bengali as the medium of examination.
The Joint Secretary – Medical Education A.K Singhal stated that the collaborative efforts of Central Health Ministry with the State Health ministries have lead to this decision so as to bring parity for the students who have taken the State Board exams.