Odisha demands NEET in Odia
BHUBANESWAR: A day after the Centre announced to conduct the National Eligibility-cum- Entrance Test for undergraduate medical admissions (NEET-UG) in eight languages, the state government demanded inclusion of Odia as a medium in the overarching pre-medical entrance for admissions in medical colleges across the country.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention. The Biju Chhatra Janata Dal (BCJD) took out a protest rally in the city. The opposition political parties, the BJP and the Congress, described Naveen's move as a cheap publicity stunt because Odisha never conducted the pre-medical entrance in Odia when admission in the state colleges were done on the basis of the state-level test, called Odisha joint entrance examination (OJEE).
The Union ministry of health and family welfare on Wednesday announced to hold the NEET-UG in the coming academic year (2017-18) in Hindi, English, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Telugu and Tamil.
Pointing out that Odia as a medium of examination has been conspicuously left out, Naveen wrote to PM, "Students of Odisha, who have studied in Odia, will be at a great disadvantage. The decision of Government of India will provide a competitive advantage to the students reading in the six regional languages (apart from Hindi and English) to the disadvantage of those from Odisha."
Naveen wrote that the Centre's move has created widespread resentment among the students of Odisha. "I am constrained to seek your personal intervention in the matter incorporating Odia as a medium of examination for the ensuing NEET, in the larger interests of the students of my state," the CM wrote to Modi.
Addressing a news conference, BJP Yuva Morcha president Tankadhar Tripathy said the CM's move is ridiculous because before a video-conferencing with the Union health ministry on the subject on November 28, the state's health secretary on November 26 had written to the ministry that the state's choice of language is English. "The health ministry had then mentioned about the six regional languages it intended to allow apart from Hindi and English," Tripathy said. He showed copy of a document on language choice purportedly sent by the state to the Centre.
Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said Odia as a medium is desirable. However, there are no books in Odia and the Naveen government itself never conducted the test in Odia. "Now raising the issue shows how the CM is interested in cheap publicity," Mishra said. Around 50,000 students from Odisha apply for MBBS/BDS admissions every year.