Cancelling Grace Marks Addresses Only Part Of The Issue, What About 24 Lakh Candidates? Doctors Express Concerns Over NTA Decision

The National Testing Agency’s (NTA) decision to conduct an optional re-NEET for 1,563 affected candidates has stirred discontent among a segment of the medical community. They argue that the issues raised regarding the administration of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test Undergraduate (NEET-UG) 2024 examination extend beyond these 1,563 candidates and impact the approximately 2.4 million candidates who took the exam.

The affected candidates will be informed of their actual scores from the NEET UG 2024 exam held on May 5, 2024. They will have the option to either keep their original marks (without the compensatory marks) or take a re-exam conducted by the NTA, likely on June 23. The results of this optional re-exam will be released before June 30, 2024, allowing NEET UG 2024 counseling to start on July 6, 2024.

Expressing his opinion on the matter, he added, “I believe the NTA is an exam-conducting body, not a fact-checking or investigative agency. Each entity should adhere to its assigned duties and responsibilities. Investigations should be carried out by the police or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).”

“Independent oversight and judicial intervention might be necessary to fully address the irregularities and uphold the credibility of the NEET-UG exam,” he further mentioned.

NEET Paper Leak Scam

This year’s NEET UG 2024 exam was embroiled in controversy following a paper leak scandal in Bihar. Approximately 13 individuals, including four examinees and their family members, were arrested in Bihar for their alleged involvement in the NEET-UG exam paper leak. Patna police sources previously claimed that NEET-UG question papers and their answers were provided to about 20 aspirants a day before the exam, on May 5, 2024.

The Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of Bihar Police, which took over the investigation, revealed that brokers involved in the NEET paper leak scam charged between Rs 30 lakh to Rs 50 lakh from each medical aspirant in exchange for the NEET UG 2024 question paper before the exam.

Referring to these issues, Dr. Sinha added, “The arrests and FIRs related to the exam leak suggest deeper issues that may not be resolved by merely offering re-tests to a subset of candidates. In such a situation, it might be crucial for stakeholders, including students, parents, and educators, to advocate for a more thorough investigation and resolution. Transparency in the investigation process and clear communication from the authorities can help rebuild trust.”

“The ramifications of this compromised exam extend far beyond the issue of grace marks. The credibility of a competitive exam has been compromised, leading to a significant loss of faith among students and their parents. As previously mentioned, this situation demands a comprehensive investigation and transparent resolution to restore trust and ensure fairness,” he further mentioned.

Meanwhile, addressing the latest development and NTA’s decision to withdraw the grace marks, the X (formerly Twitter) handle of Indian Doctor posted, “All Coaching Mafia’s trying to suppress #NEET Paper leak issue by continuously raising grace marks matter via their YouTube channels and media interviews.”

FAIMA has called for an independent investigation into the allegations of a paper leak in the NEET exam. In a post on X, the association stated, “We demand an independent body to investigate the lapses in the NEET UG examination. @NTA_Exams is accountable for the faults in this exam, and the Director General of NTA should resign as it is his moral responsibility.”

Dr. Lakshya Mittal, the National President of the United Doctors’ Front Association (UDFA), compared NEET UG 2024 to the notorious ‘Vyapam scam.’ In an X post, he wrote, “Initially, the NTA awarded #gracemarks to address the issue, but now, with the grace marks being revoked, students are left confused and distressed. What about the nearly 24 lakh candidates who participated in the exam? Paper Leak? The emotional and mental toll on these students cannot be ignored, especially given the reported instances of suicides linked to the stress and uncertainty surrounding the exam process. Immediate intervention is necessary.”

Addressing the Union Education Ministry and the Health Ministry, his post further added, “@EduMinOfIndia & @MoHFW_INDIA A thorough and independent investigation is essential to restore confidence in the examination process. @udfaindia calls for a high-level inquiry, potentially led by the @CBIHeadquarters (CBI), to be conducted without the involvement of @NTA_Exams personnel to ensure impartiality and credibility. The future and well-being of our students are at stake, and it is imperative that we take decisive actions to safeguard their interests and ensure a fair and transparent examination system.”

Today, the Supreme Court considered the objections raised regarding the NTA’s grace marks policy. The Apex Court clarified that it will not halt the counseling, expected to start on July 6, but has scheduled further hearings on the issues concerning the use of unfair means in the examination for July 8, 2024.

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