From next year, admission to medical and dental courses across the country will be done through a single common entrance test, with Parliament on Monday approving two significant bills providing for putting NEET in place.
The government said the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is designed to curb corruption by bringing in transparency, checking multiplicity of exams and to stop exploitation of students in counselling.
Under the new system, exams to private colleges will also be conducted under NEET, Health minister J P Nadda said, responding to contention by some members that it will benefit private institutions.
The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and The Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2016, approved by the Lok Sabha earlier, were passed by the Rajya Sabha through voice vote.
Most of the parties supported the government move to have NEET except AIADMK, which opposed it and staged a walkout, arguing that it will affect the rural students who do not study CBSE syllabus.
Replying to a debate on these bills, Nadda said, "National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is intended to check multiplicity of exams...to bring transparency to curb corrption and to stop the exploitation of students during counselling."
Earlier, students would have to travel long distances to appear for several medical entrance examinations but the new legislation will bring this to an end, he said.
Responding to apprehensions expressed by some members, particularly from Tamil Nadu, where reservation is upto 85 per cent, he clarified, "We are not going to touch the state quota...We will give the name, ranking, domicile and percentile...Now it is for the state governements to decide and give extra marks...and give admissions to reserved categories."
Nadda said that the exam will be held on the basis of NCERT syllabus and the under-graduate exam will be taken up by CBSE and post-graduation by the national board of examination.
"In the syllabus, we bring parity. Concerns of the state governments will be addressed. We will do standardisation of syllabus so that rural students can also be taken care of," he said.
"Tests will also be conducted in regional languages," Nadda said, responding to apprehensions over the issue.
He said the health ministry has written to all the states seeking details about the number of students who appeared in local languages in the last three years so that the Centre can make plans accordingly.