Opinion | Anitha Didn't Commit Suicide, it Was NEET That Killed Her
NEET-National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test is actually not a test for eligibility but a test for Elimination - Elimination of rural, state board and Tamil medium students, elimination of service doctors from public health service, elimination of 192 super speciality TN state seats.
Anitha had secured 1176 out of 1200 in her board examination but she secured just 86 out of 700 in NEET which is why she didn't get an admission in a medical college (Photo: Network18)
Anitha killed herself on Friday and it shocked the country as to how an entrance exam could take the life of a girl who was a brilliant student who aced her class 12 Board exams.
This is where the problem arises. NEET-National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test is actually not a test for eligibility but a test for Elimination - Elimination of rural, state board and Tamil medium students, elimination of service doctors from public health service, elimination of 192 super speciality TN state seats.
And unlike what a lot of people think, NEET is also not an issue about State board vs CBSE board.
This is an issue about State Rights/Federalism vs Unitarianism/Hegemony of the Union & FCs+ Rich OBCs vs Poor OBCs + SCs.
The exam will prevent poor students, and not just state board students, from becoming doctors. All those students under CBSE who cannot spend close to Rs 3 lakh for NEET coaching cannot become doctors. Not just that, the issue with Tamil Nadu is far from over-NEET has eliminated service quota for doctors from the state in post graduate studies.
This directly affects primary health care doctors who won't be able to get their skills uograded at ease, as it was in the pre-NEET era. And if primary health care doctors are unable to match up to the current skill set required, it has serious ramifications for the state's medical infrastructure and healthcare.
Just for the record, 15% UG medical seats , 50% PG medical seats and 100% Super Speciality medical seats in Tamil Nadu have already been given to the Union.
Now, Tamil Nadu is being forced to even fill the remaining state government seats through NEET. In 2012, when CET (Common Entrance Test) was introduced throughout india, Tamil Nadu government announced that TN will not follow CET and addmissions will be done by +2 mark basis.
Tamil Nadu has been consistent in its opposition to NEET for state quota seats, in UG as well as PG. The civil society and the state govt, under DMK as well as ADMK, have been consistently voicing for an exemption for TN from NEET. At the peak, an unanimous Bill was passed in TN assembly on Feb 2017 and sent for President's approval which is still pending.
The journey of education, from being part of the state list to being moved to the concurrent list of the Constitution (this was done by Indira Gandhi), has touched new heights with NEET.
It's only a matter of time until the Union government, with the support of Parliament and courts, abolishes all state government seats and takes all medical seats into its fold under the Union Gov Quota.
If it's done, then students in north India, who have less medical seats in their states, will have more medical seats to compete for and poor yet brilliant students from states like Tamil Nadu will be at a disadvantage. You ask how?
If all seats are moved under the Union quota, the 69% seats reserved in Tamil Nadu will cease to exist. This essentially means OBCs will not get the current 50% reservation that they get for state government seats, and the non-creamy OBCs will get a 27% reservation.
NEET is just the beginning of taking away the control on medical infrastructure from states, accumulating powers at Union government and corporatising health care and filling the medical field only with FCs and rich OBCs to facilitate the smooth functioning of corporatised health care.
The Union, state and even Supreme court have betrayed Tamil Nadu in NEET issue.
Even after the Parliamentary standing committee recommended an exemption to all those states who didn't support NEET, the current Union government is adamant in not letting that happen.
Its been more than a year and the SC hasn't even started hearing the NEET case. The state government, too, has not done enough for its own whilst failing to play its cards right. The least that they could have done was petitioned for the NEET hearing before the SC.
Its a failure at all fronts. The future looks bleak, unless the Union government keeps Tamil Nadu out of NEET and/or SC starts hearing the case.
We clearly don't want more Anithas.
(The author, a youth activist, is chief coordinator of the Tamil Youths and Students Federation. Views are personal)
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