DailyPost 2821

The more details of irregularities of various types keep emerging around the conduct of NEET 2024 from across the country, the focus on the National Testing Agency is getting sharper. Created in the year 2017 on the gory past of competitive exam irregularities across the country, it is mandated to conduct efficient, transparent and international standardised entrance examinations for admission to higher educational institutions in the country. Today the mandated saviour is itself mired in controversies / scandals of the worst type in what is termed as NEET 2024 scandal. Its role, nature and approach are all in the dock, so is autonomy and accountability.

It also seems to approach the criminals’ cases pertaining to the exam, as if it’s not their baby. As the skeletons keep tumbling down the 2024 NEET cupboard, the criticism becomes more and more scathing. The issues have become quite a few by now. Sixty seven students are joint toppers. Toppers have scored hundred percent. One centre has produced 7 of them. Then rank inflation is to the tune of 186%. Of what is known so far, NTA accepted to have given grace marks to 1563 students. There is no provision for it. It has been substantiated by a legally non applicable judgement. The grace marks formula remains unknown. Why grace marks for loss of time? Toppers with grace marks!

The last date of submission of application was extended. The reasons remain unknown. Question paper was known a day in advance, to the middlemen, as per the criminal cases in Bihar. The nature of planning and preparation, inclusive of money changing hands here are clear cut indications of a competitive exam mafia operating. The Solver Gang. The Godhra case also has startling revelations on the way the exam was rigged. The candidates to this centre came from far off states as well. What was the lure? There are very clear money trails in both the cases. The way candidates at the same rank would be allotted colleges will also leave you bewildered. With so much already in the public domain, it is scary to imagine the total rot. This cannot be the first time, as some accused are known education mafiosos. All NTA has done is to cancel grace marks for 1563 candidates and give them the choice to take the exam again.

NTA is in the dock. The lip service to transparency and assurance of providing justice to the candidates sound completely hollow. Being autonomous, it should have the competence to fight its own battle, and set right the issue. Getting dragged to the court willfully and then keep waiting for a court decision, speaks very low of it. Court has not stopped it from setting the issues right. NTA job is not just to conduct the exams, it has to handle issues emanating out of it, in a fair and transparent manner, to the satisfaction of the last candidate. The testing agency and candidates are not adversaries. Candidates are its extended arm in the pursuit of getting the right merit to our higher education institutions. The government need not bat for NTA, it should be competent enough to fend for itself with dignity, grace and professionalism delivering unquestionable meritorious candidates, being fair, transparent and responsive in the process. A forensic data audit can throw up most of the facts and the connections thereof in a very short time. Time is running out for NTA to reclaim its credibility.

Sanjay Sahay

Have a nice evening.

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