Pranab Mukherjee signed the ordinance to keep state boards out of the common entrance test for MBBS and dental courses for this year.
Decks were cleared on Tuesday for exempting state government medical colleges from the Supreme Court-mandated single All India entrance exam for a year with President Pranab Mukherjee giving his assent to the NEET ordinance before he embarked on his China visit.
Ending the uncertainty on the fate of the ordinance after the President raised some queries on the measure that was cleared by the Union Cabinet on Friday, states now have the option of either conducting their own exam or be part of the NEET to fill 85 per cent of the Under Graduate medical and dental seats. Fifteen per cent of the remaining seats will be filled through NEET route by all India counselling.
Union Health Minister J P Nadda while giving details of the ordinance, which, he said gave a “firm statutory status” to the concept of Uniform Entrance Examination, however, made it very clear that all private medical colleges and deemed universities will come under the ambit of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test.
However, for PG courses, the exam will be held under NEET for 2017-18 session, in December this year.
Nadda said that the necessity of promulgating the ordinance arose as the Supreme Court is presently in vacation while both the Houses of Parliament had been adjourned sine-die.
Allaying apprehensions that the Centre is trying to defer NEET through the Ordinance, Nadda said that NEET is already implemented and the second phase will be held on July 24.
“The purpose of the Ordinance is to provide a firm statutory status to the concept of Uniform Entrance Examination for all undergraduate and post graduate admissions in medical or dental colleges while providing a relaxation to the state governments in relation to only UG admissions for this year [2016-17] in view of their difficulties,” he told reporters.
Mukherjee signed the ordinance on Tuesday morning after health ministry officials returned with the file addressing all the queries raised by him.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi was at the President’s Secretariat early morning along with the top ministry officials to respond to clarifications sought by Mukherjee on the NEET issue.
“All private institutions and medical colleges will come under the ambit of NEET. The state governments will get an option to either conduct their own exam or go for NEET to fill UG seats.
“The states will have an option. Approximately five states have undertaken their test. Six and a half lakh candidates have appeared in various state exams. 6.25 lakh have appeared in NEET 1,” Nadda said.
Nadda said that the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 and The Dentists (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 are being promulgated to amend the Indian Medical Council Act 1956 and Dentists Act, 1948 respectively.