Doctors, Students, and Activists Unite to Tackle NEET Exam Scandal

Just three days before the NEET-UG exam on May 5, some students received pop-up alerts on Telegram offering leaked papers for Rs 5000
Pandey eventually passed NEET and has since dedicated himself to ensuring transparency in medical education, filing around 1,000 Right to Information (RTI) requests since 2016.
(Representational image: Pixabay)
Pandey eventually passed NEET and has since dedicated himself to ensuring transparency in medical education, filing around 1,000 Right to Information (RTI) requests since 2016. (Representational image: Pixabay)

To address irregularities in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET-UG), doctors, students, and activists have come together. This examination has been the subject of controversy, especially in relation to claims of unfair practices and exam paper leaks. The test is a key beginning for admission to undergraduate medical programs in India.

Just three days before the NEET-UG exam on May 5, some students received pop-up alerts on Telegram offering leaked papers for Rs 5000. These alerts read, "Leak paper available, price Rs 5000, message to buy @HQPaper." Despite activist Vivek Pandey posting about these leaks on social media platforms before the exam, his warnings went largely ignored.

Following the exam, the Supreme Court has issued notices to the Center and the National Testing Agency (NTA) in response to multiple Public Interest Litigations (PILs) about the alleged leaks. Pandey has been proactive in seeking accountability, filing complaints with the Union Health Ministry, and pursuing updates from the Bihar police on their investigation into the state's paper leak. He is also petitioning for action against the NTA in the Supreme Court.

Pandey's fight against exam discrepancies is personal. After attempting to pass the pre-medical test (PMT) in Madhya Pradesh for nearly four years, he faced repeated failure. It wasn't until the Vyapam scam, a massive cheating scandal involving students, officials, and middlemen, made headlines that he realized he was competing in a rigged system. Pandey eventually passed NEET and has since dedicated himself to ensuring transparency in medical education, filing around 1,000 Right to Information (RTI) requests since 2016.

The NTA responded to these allegations by forming a four-member panel to investigate the discrepancies. (Representational image: Pixabay)
The NTA responded to these allegations by forming a four-member panel to investigate the discrepancies. (Representational image: Pixabay)

On June 11, student groups protested outside the Ministry of Education, demanding a retest due to the alleged irregularities. The NEET-UG exam was held across 571 cities, and results were unexpectedly announced on June 4, ten days ahead of the anticipated date. Out of 2.4 million applicants, 67 students achieved perfect scores, with six toppers reportedly coming from the same exam center, raising further suspicion.

The NTA responded to these allegations by forming a four-member panel to investigate the discrepancies, including the awarding of grace marks to around 1,600 students. Protesting students from groups like the All India Students’ Association (AISA) and the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) carried placards reading, “Stop playing with students’ lives” and “Ban coaching centers.”

A delegation of students also submitted a memorandum to the ministry, demanding not only a reexamination but also the disbanding of the NTA and a halt to PhD admissions through the National Eligibility Test. JNUSU President Dhananjay, AISA DU Secretary Anjali, and other student leaders were part of this delegation.

Parents of NEET aspirants joined the protests as well. Hariom Dubey, whose son is preparing for the NEET exam in Kota, traveled from Kannauj to Delhi to support the cause. Dubey emphasized the mental toll on students and called for an investigation and a reexamination by an unbiased agency. Sant Kumar, a member of the SFI state committee, criticized the centralization of exams, arguing that it has led to increased mismanagement and unfair advantages.

Another student, Anvi Gupta, who has taken the NEET exam four times, expressed frustration over the lack of clarity on the awarding of grace marks and the unusual inflation in the top ranks.

(Input from various sources)

(Rehash/ Susmita Bhandary/MSM)

Pandey eventually passed NEET and has since dedicated himself to ensuring transparency in medical education, filing around 1,000 Right to Information (RTI) requests since 2016.
(Representational image: Pixabay)
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