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Govt writes to CBSE over NEET age limit, state list


KOLKATA: Baffled by the stricture imposed by CBSE — the exam-conducting body of National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) that has capped the upper age limit of medical aspirants to 25 years — a concerned health department has now sent letters asking them to relax the norm.
In the correspondence, director of medical education, Sushanta Bandopadhyay, has also urged CBSE not to disqualify candidates without Aadhaar card from taking NEET 2017. In the same letter, Bandopadhyay has requested the board to release individual state merit list based on the valid NEET score and domicile status which the exam conducting body till now has refused to entertain.
"Till last year, when the Bengal government conducted Joint Entrance Examinations for entry to the medical colleges, no such upper age limit existed. So, merit was the sole criteria for selection. Even putting a bar on the number of attempts to three was not a rule in Bengal. The Medical Council of India also holds no such regulations. After CBSE published the application criteria, we have protested against the decision as well as against making Aadhaar mandatory," said a source in Sasthya Bhavan.
After coming under pressure from several state governments, CBSE has, however, clarified though the number of attempts will be restricted to three times, the counting will start fresh from this year onwards. Hence, all candidates will be eligible to take the test even if they had appeared in AIPMT or NEET.
Another jolt to the state government landed after CBSE decided it shall provide only All-India Rank (AIR) list for NEET examinees and not hand over any state merit list to the respective governments to fulfil the 85% domicile quota seats in state-run medical colleges.
Instead, the results will be given over to the health and family welfare ministry. CBSE had provided state merit list for domicile quota seats in NEET 2013.
"Respective states will have to make their own merit list for admission to 85% domicile seats from the AIR list provided by CBSE," said a state health department official.
"If this year CBSE follows a similar pattern as was the case in PG medical admissions, then the health department will have to start a new software and invite students holding valid NEET scores to apply for medical seats in Bengal. Based on the data provided by students and confirmed from the CBSE rank list, counselling will be conducted where physical verification of candidates will be done," added the official.
"Admitting authorities will invite applications for counselling and merit list shall be drawn based on AIR by CBSE. But the candidates will lose money while applying to several medical colleges — private and state. NEET was introduced to ensure a smooth and uniform admission system. By not sending individual state rank list, the aim of the exam will be defeated," said Amiya Maity, formerly associated with SSKM hospital.

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