In a recent move, the TN government has unanimously passed a Bill in the assembly that grants a 7.5 percent reservation to the government school students in the existing reservation of seats for BDS, MBBS, and AYUSH courses. This quota will be applicable with immediate effect and the students clearing the NEET-UG in 2020 would get the benefits straight away.

The Bill was introduced and moved by the state Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. The house took the unanimous decision to pass the bill almost immediately. Clearing the reservation stand, the government said that the reservation would be available for UG programs in medicine, dentistry, Indian medicine, and homeopathy. However, it would not be applicable for the seats reserved for all India quotas.

As per the assumptions, the Bill will benefit more than 300 students from economically-challenged backgrounds. These students would get the benefits from this year itself. Announcing this Bill, the state Chief Minister said that the AIADMK government took this decision to implement horizontal reservation as recommended by a commission headed by Justice P. Kalaiyarasan, a retired high court judge. Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said, “The Cabinet accepted the recommendations and was ready to give its approval in the meeting that was held on June 15 and June 16, 2020. This Bill is the final approach to put this reservation quota in practice.” “ The move will help many poor students from rural areas who live a dream of becoming doctors. This Bill would help them to accomplish their dreams.” The Chief Minister added.

Actually, the ‘Quota within Quota’ bill will cover government seats that are applicable in private colleges as well. The Bill seeks to restore the Ordinance propagated by the government. It may be evoked that the State Cabinet had on June 15 accepted a decree, allowing 7.5 percent horizontal reservation in the State government’s quota of MBBS/BDS seats, for government school students. The press had earlier covered the news that the state government has decided to accept the recommendation and pass a bill to help the deserving students in the government schools.

The Cabinet took the decision depending on the recommendation made by a panel, headed by Justice P Kalaiyarasan. The panel considered all the matters related to this reservation quota. The government took the decision immediately after the commission submitted its report to the state government. As per the recommendations, the students who had passed the higher secondary exam after having studied for seven consecutive years in government schools should be eligible to get the benefits of this bill.

The PTI says, “Students that studied in government schools should be entitled to compete for the government seats, apart from those set apart on the privileged ground, along with those who studied in private schools,” said a provision in the legislation, quotes PTI.

Those students that studied from Grade VI to Higher Secondary in any of the government schools, including the ones run by local bodies, and have qualified the NEET, would get the benefit from this Bill. In the report, the commission has noticed that the students in the government schools were placed in a detrimental situation when compared to their counterparts that come from private schools. These include “cognitive breach created by socio-economic aspects such as caste, wealth, gender, parental occupation, and parental education. These psychological and socio-economic hurdles cannot be over-passed by a few months of exhaustive coaching for NEET, even if it is made available for free,” the Bill said.

In a recent development, a petition has been filed in the Supreme Court (SC) to instruct National Testing Agency (NTA) to allow the students to appear in the test once again who could not reach their examination centers due to one reason or another.

The petition has been filed by Shaswat Anand, a lawyer who was pained by an incident when a student failed to reach the examination center by 10 minutes and he was not allowed to take the exam. The lawyer has enough reasons to believe that the number of such students cannot be just one. He requested the Apex Court to take Suo Moto cognizance of the report of the students who could not make it to the test centers. The plea further requests the SC to direct NTA to permit and facilitate the students to appear in such exams on further dates.

It is worth mentioning that the case may have happened to many students who were set to avail their last attempt in this career in 2020. The petition seeks recourse for such students who have been impacted due to any form of uncertainty. The lawyer also shows his concerns for the applicants for JEE Main in 2020 that may have missed the chance whose test was held from September 1 to September 6 and the result of the same has also been released. Meanwhile, NEET 2020 was conducted on September 13. Results are awaited for the undergraduate medical/ dental entrance examination.

Due to the pandemic outbreak this year, NTA had made many student-friendly provisions for the safe conduct of exams. However, it is worth mentioning that many students decided to skip the test and many could not appear due to unknown or uncertain events. The SC is to hear the petition on a date that it is yet to announce.

In a major decision on September 08-, 2020, National Testing Agency (NTA) has announced a revised dress code for the NEET aspirants. The sources say that the agency has taken the decision just to ensure effective safety and protection for the students appearing in the NEET-UG 2020. It is good to mention that NTA is all set to conduct the exam on September 13, 2020, in more than 600 test centers across the country.

The main objective of this new dress code is to ensure that the students may feel comfortable while taking the test that is scheduled to last for three (3) hours. The applicants must remember that the revised guidelines are not applicable for the mask and hand gloves as they are required to use both throughout the examination duration. The NTA has appealed to all the appearing candidates to go through the instructions mentioned in the admit card that they could download from the NTA official website. In addition, they would need to carry the filled-in declaration form with them to their respective test centers.

Revised Dress Code For NEET-2020-Know What To Wear and What Not To Wear
• The mask and gloves are mandatory for every applicant appearing in NEET 2020.
• Cultural or Customary dresses are allowed in the test centers.
• Students are advised to put on light clothes during the test duration.
• The agency forbids long-sleeve dresses for both male and female candidates
• Shoes are not allowed. Instead, students are allowed to put on slippers and sandals.
• Candidates are advised not to use watches and heavy jewelry items at the test centers.
• Female candidates may use customary headgear, hair bands, etc.

The NTA has informed the candidates to consider these codes very strictly. Otherwise, they may be restricted from taking the test. The agency has allowed a special dress with respect to the climatic conditions.

Things that students should not carry:
The agency has also issued a list of things that the students should avoid carrying with them at the center. These things include Instrument boxes/Pencil Boxes, Purse, Wallets, handbags, Eatable foods, any kind of paper, printed or unprinted, mobile handsets, Earphone, Microphone, Pager, Calculator, Camera, Tape Recorder, Electronic gadgets/devices, Electronic watches, and any metallic items. Students appearing in the test must abide by these guidelines to ensure smooth conduction of the long-awaited NEET-2020 exams.

In a major development, the Supreme Court has rejected the review petition filed by the ministers of six non-BJP lead states to postpone and to reschedule the JEET and NEET-UG 2020 on September 04, 2020. It is good to mention that the JEE 2020 was scheduled to be held from September 1-6, 2020, and the NEET-UG is all set to be held on September 13, 2020.

In the meanwhile the first phase of the JEET 2020 was successfully taken throughout the country on September 1, 2020, The cabinet ministers of these states include West Bengal Law Minister Maloy Ghatak, Jharkhand Finance Minister Rameswar Oraon, Rajasthan Health Minister Dr. Raghu Sharma, Maharashtra Education Minister Uday R Samant, Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, and Chhattisgarh Food Minister Amarjeet Bhagat.

While filing the review petition, the ministers appealed to the Apex Court to postpone the scheduled exams in the light of the COVID-19 threat. In their petition, the ministers had claimed that the top court order failed to protect students’ “right to life” and overlooked “teething logistical difficulties” to be encountered in conducting the exams during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is good to mention that the Supreme Court had earlier rejected a similar petition that was moved by 11 students from 11 states in the country. The Apex Court reiterated its stand mentioning that the government has no right to damage the career of the engineering and medical aspirants by postponing the exams any further. Additionally, the Court has directed the National Testing Agency to make every possible effort to ensure the safe conduction of the exams.

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court approved a quota for in-job doctors for admissions in post-graduate courses. The quota would be valid for all the government hospitals in the country. While hearing the petition moved by the doctors’ associations, the Constitution Bench said that there was no prohibition in the law against the state governments for their stand on providing such reservations to the in-service medical practitioners.

The Bench in the Apex Court ruled that the state governments have the authorization under the Constitution and the applicable entries under List II. This permission becomes important, especially when the Medical Council of India (MCI) lacks this authority.

Providing a special stand on such permissions, the Bench said that the states must lay down a condition making it mandatory for the beneficiary doctors to serve at least for 5 years in the hilly, rural, or tribal areas. Making its stand clear on the admission issues, the Bench clarified that no existing admission would be disturbed. The decision will apply only for the admissions in the time to come.

It is worth mentioning that some states had so far allowed the doctors may get a weightage as an incentive up to 10% of the marks that they would obtain every year of their service in challenging areas up to a maximum of 30 percent of marks that they might obtain in NEET.

In their batch petition in this move, the doctors had pleaded that they would prefer getting a quota in the PG admissions instead of getting incentive marks to the government doctors. With this ruling, the old demand of the prominent doctors’ associations has been fulfilled.

After much confusion for more than three months, the JEE (Mains) exams get underway amid substantial Covid safety measures. It is good to mention that the said exam was postponed twice due to the ongoing pandemic in the country. It is worth mentioning that the examination is conducted every year for admissions in topmost engineering colleges in the country.

As per the claims of the Ministry Of Education and National Testing Agency (NTA), all necessary preparations have been taken care of to provide the students with the safest environment to take their tests.

It is worth-mentioning that about 9.58 lakh JEE aspirants have registered for the test this year. As per the rescheduled fixture, the JEE (Mains) is to be conducted from September 1-6, 2020. The MoE and NTA have made elaborate arrangements to conduct the exams in around 660 testing centers across the country.

A few state governments have taken admirable steps to provide the students with some special benefits. The governments of Odhisa, Rajasthan, MP, and Chhattisgarh have arranged special transportation facilities to the students that they can avail free of cost. In addition to this, a group of IIT alumni and students have launched a portal to facilitate the needy aspirants with free transportation facilities. The governments have done so responding to the appeal made to them by Ramesh Pokhriyal, the Minister of Education, Government of India.

Reiterating the safety measures taken by the government, Vineet Joshi, Director General of National Testing Agency (NTA), said that a comprehensive operating procedure has been adopted for providing the safest atmosphere to the students and center staff. The procedure ensures social distancing and secured delivery of the test.

In a recent development related to the NEET 2020, the Central Government has told the Supreme Court that it is not possible to conduct the said entrance test for various UG courses on medicine online. Replying to a hearing for a writ petition filed by an applicant, the Government has said that it is not possible either to arrange for test centers abroad as the petition demands. This petition demanded online tests for the NEET aspirants and to establish test centers abroad for those students who are unable to reach India due to the cancellation of flights.

It is worth mentioning that the examination for NEET 2020 is scheduled to be held on September 13, 2020, in around 161 test centers across the country. The sources confirm that the preparations for the said test have been started in the meanwhile. Earlier it was reported that special arrangements are being made for the aspirants appearing in the NEET exam. These arrangements were influenced by the measures the Kerala government made while holding the exams recently. The state government had announced that the outstation students would have to remain quarantined for 14 days. The decision also included the person(s) who accompanied the students to the test centers. The state government had also announced that separate sitting arrangements would be made for the students who had been tested positive for Covid -19.

Special Bags Would Be Supplied For The Answer Sheets:
The government has announced a few safety measures for the invigilators who would be on duty for the NEET 2020. They would be required to put on a triple-layer mask and gloves while on duty. The government is all set to provide a special quality of plastic bags in which the students would put their answer sheets. It is worth mentioning that a survey was conducted on the proposed exams in which more than 87% of the participants have voted in favor of postponement of the exam on September 13, 2020.

Petition Has Been Filed in The Supreme Court For Postponing The Exam:
Keeping in mind the fast spread of the Covdi-19 cases in the country, a separate petition has been filed in the Supreme Court. The said petition requests the apex court to give its verdict in favor of postponement of the exam. It is good to mention that the schedule of the said exam has been canceled and rescheduled three times before it was scheduled finally to be held on September 13, 2020. Remember, this petition has been filed by 11 students from 11 Indian states. They have requested the Supreme Court to instruct the National Testing Agency (NTA) to hold the exam after the normalcy is restored.

Alakh Alok Srivastava, the counsel of the students filing the petition reminds, that the NTA’s decision of holding the NEET and Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) in September 2020. The agency had earlier announced that the JEE would be held between September 1-6 and NEET-UG examination would be held on September 13, 2020.

The petition expresses concern over the threat factors that are increasing rather sharply these days as the number of victims in India is rising sharply these days. It is expected to cross 25 lakhs mark in another 3-4 days. The death toll is also rising fast as it crossed the 40K mark just a couple of days ago. The petition demands safety for the students and their parents/guardians from getting infected with the deadly virus, Covid-19.

Keeping the life-threatening incidents caused by COVID-19, the students have decided to go further with their demands for the postponement of the entrance tests for JEE and NEET 2020. It is worth mentioning that the exams are likely to get underway in the first two weeks of September 2020. The students from all over the country demand deferment of the exams beyond September 2020.

Speaking to the India TV Digital correspondent, Anubha Srivastava Sahai, the Chief of the India Wide Parents’ Association, said, “Students across India demand postponement of JEE and NEET exams due to COVID-19 pandemic. 11 students from 11 states have moved to the Supreme Court seeking relief. We are confident honorable SC will give justice to these students.”

Alakh Alok Srivastava, the counsel of the students, filed the petition in the SC. Speaking to the press correspondents, Mr. Srivastava said, “The students want the examinations to get rescheduled only after normalcy is restored in the country after the pandemic ceases.” Expressing his view on the petition, Mr. Srivastava said that the petition has also urged the SC to look into the possibilities to increase the number of test centers across the country. Additionally, the students demand one examination center in every district headquarters in all the states in the country. In the petition, the students have also sought fresh opportunities to NEET and JEE aspirants to submit their application afresh.

The Main Objectives of The SC Petition Filed By The Students:
(quoted verbatim)

• Many students, suffering from poor health conditions due to COVID-19 infection, are feared to miss their chance to qualify for the career opportunities in JEET and NEET. This can be a violation of the fundamental right to equality, as mentioned in Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

• The National Testing Agency (NTA) has decided to conduct JEE entrance exams Online, but it has decided to hold NEET in offline mode. The exam is supposed to be organized in 161 test centers across the country. The petition says that the decision is very illogical and capricious of the fundamental rights of the students. The petition states that the decision would cause severe possibilities of getting infected with the deadly virus. It is good to mention that NEET is supposed to be attended by more than 18-lakh students.

• The petition reminds that NTA has postponed the examination for the National Council of Hotel Management Joint Entrance (NCHM-JEE) for an indefinite period in view of the COVID-19 outbreak. The said test was scheduled to be held on June 22, 2020. Referring to this decision of the NTA, the petitions demand similar decisions for NEET and JEE exams in 2020.

To make the petition even more powerful, the students have already started a social media campaign to make it reach more students across the country. The campaign, especially on Twitter, goes viral with the hashtag- #SaveJEE_NEETstudentsPM. The campaign is catching momentum in recent days, and the increasing number of activities on the tweet proves that the campaign is grabbing the attention of the people from all over the country.

Ministers of six Indian states led by the opposition parties have moved the Supreme Court with their petition to postpone the JEE and NEET-UG tests because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These six states are West Bengal, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Punjab. It is worth mentioning that the decision of moving to the Apex Court was taken in a high-level meeting of the Chief Ministers of these states along with Sonia Gandhi, the President of the National Congress Party on August 26, 2020.

The ministers have filed the petition in the Supreme Court to review its decision that it declared on August 17, 2020, while it rejected the petition for the same purpose that was filed by 11 students from 11 states in the country. These ministers include WB law Minister Maloy Ghatak, Jharkhand Finance Minister Rameswar Oraon, Rajasthan Health Minister Dr. Raghu Sharma, Maharashtra Education Minister Uday R Samant, Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, and Chhattisgarh Food Minister Amarjeet Bhagat.

In their review petitions, the ministers have requested the Apex Court to postpone the exams that have been scheduled in September 2020. The JEE is scheduled 1-6 September and NEET-UG is scheduled to be on September 13, 2020. The ministers have shown grave concern over the possibility of a massive spread of COVID infection among the students. It is good to mention that approximately 18 lakh students are likely to appear in NEET-UG this year and around 11.25 lakh students have applied for their candidature in JEE-2020.

The petitions also express grave concern for those students who have moved out of their locations during the COVID-19 and are unable to get back to their place for appearing in the tests. The petitioners demand a reschedule of the dates when the COVID situations get better.

The Supreme Court rejected the plea that demanded postponement of examinations for admission in the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET). In a hearing today, the apex court rejected the plea that was filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava on behalf of 11 students from 11 states that demanded postponement of the JEE and NEET entrance exams in the light of the on-going pandemic due to COVID-19.

It is worth mentioning that the JEE entrance test is scheduled to be held between September 1 to September 6, 2020, and the date for NEET entrance is scheduled to be held on September 13, 2020. The Supreme Court rejected the plea strongly. The Apex Court said, “The careers of the students cannot be put under jeopardy.”

The court further added, “Life cannot be stopped. We have to move ahead with all safeguards. Are students ready to waste one whole year? Education should be opened up. Covid may continue for a year more. Are you going to wait for another year? Do you know what the loss to the country and peril to the students the postponement would bring?” Justice Arun Mishra headed the Supreme Court bench hearing the case.

The case was filed in favor of conducting the JEE and NEET examinations only after the restoration of normalcy post-COVID-19 crisis. Before the hearing process began, advocate Srivastava showed enough confidence in obtaining justice for JEE and NEET aspirants. Anubha Srivastava Sahai, chief of the India Wide Parents’ Association, was also optimistic before the crucial hearing. “We are very confident that the honorable Supreme Court will give justice to students and the government will support them.” It is good to mention that more than 18 lakhs aspirants are supposed to appear in NEET admission test this year.