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Guv returns NEET Bill, all-party meeting tomorrow
Chief Minister MK Stalin called for an all-party meeting at the Secretariat on February 5 to decide on the next course of action over the matter. Governor Ravi’s statement that the Bill was against the interest of economically backward students and also those from rural areas of the State was unacceptable, he said.
Festering the confrontation with the State government, Governor RN Ravi on Thursday returned the Bill seeking exemption for Tamil Nadu from NEET, stating that it was against the interest of students, especially those from poor families and rural areas. Immediately afterwards, Chief Minister MK Stalin called for an all-party meeting on Saturday to discuss the further course of action.
A Raj Bhavan release stated that the Legislative Assembly Bill No.43 of 2021 for admission to undergraduate medical courses seeking exemption from NEET and the report of the high-level committee constituted by the State government in the same regard (which is the basis for the Bill) were studied in detail, and the pre-NEET status of social justice in medical admissions, especially for students coming from socially and economically poor background, was examined before taking the decision.
The Governor “is of the opinion that the Bill is against interests of the students, especially the rural and economically poor students of the State,” the statement said, adding that the Bill was returned with detailed reasons to the Speaker on February 1 for the Assembly’s reconsideration. It added that in the petition filed by Christian Medical College, Vellore, the Supreme Court had upheld NEET after comprehensively examining the issue, especially from the social justice perspective. The apex court had upheld NEET, as it prevents economic exploitation of poor students and was in furtherance of social justice, the statement said.
Soon after the communique was issued, Chief Minister MK Stalin called for an all-party meeting at the Secretariat on February 5 to decide on the next course of action over the matter. Governor Ravi’s statement that the Bill was against the interest of economically backward students and also those from rural areas of the State was unacceptable, he said. “The Governor’s comment will be examined in detail and the State government will take all efforts to pass the NEET exemption Bill in the Assembly again,” Stalin added.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Edappadi K Palaniswami charged Stalin of trying to use NEET abolition and the campaign for social justice to cover-up the impact of the anti-people governance of his administration in the last nine months. Joining him, party spokesperson D Jayakumar questioned DMK’s poll campaign where it had promised to scrap NEET with a mere signature when Stalin became the Chief Minister. “The DMK gave several fake promises, including scrapping NEET,” he said.
Accusing the AIADMK of not putting pressure on the Centre to get Presidential assent for its government’s proposal seeking exemption, TNCC president KS Alagiri said the Governor sending back the Bill was against the interest of the entire State. This would affect the future of poor and backward class students, he added.
Members from Tamil Nadu on Thursday staged a walkout from Lok Sabha protesting Governor’s decision and demanding his immediate recall. Raising the issue in Lok Sabha, DMK leader T R Baalu said members from Tamil Nadu were shocked at the decision to return the Bill to the Assembly Speaker instead of forwarding it to the President.