Government orders CBI probe into allegations of irregularities, malpractices in NEET-UG exam

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NEET-UG row: The Centre on Saturday (June 22) ordered a CBI investigation into the allegations of malpractices and paper leak in the conduct of NEET-UG exam for the admission to medical courses. The government’s move comes over a week after the controversy of alleged paper leak erupted, triggering protests by the students and political parties.

What did the government say on NEET-UG?

“National Testing Agency (NTA) conducted NEET(UG) Examination on 5th May 2024 in OMR (Pen and paper) mode. Certain cases of alleged irregularities / cheating / impersonation / malpractices have been reported. For transparency on the conduct of the examination process, the Ministry of Education, Government of India after a review has decided to entrust the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for comprehensive investigation. Central Government has also enacted the Public Examination (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, to prevent unfair means in the public examinations and to provide for matter connected therewith or incidental thereto,” the government said.

“Government is committed to ensure the sanctity of examinations and protect the interest of students. It is reiterated that any individual/ organization found to be involved will face strictest action,” it added.

This comes days after the CBI, on June 20, registered an FIR into the UGC-NET paper leak case against unidentified persons on a reference from the Union Education Ministry.

What is NEET-UG controversy?

The NEET-UG 2024 exam was conducted on May 5 and its results were declared on June 4, ahead of its scheduled announcement date of June 14. Protests were held alleging irregularities and paper leaks as the results showed that as many as 67 students had topped the exam with a perfect score of 720. Petitions have been filed in courts by students seeking a re-test. The Supreme Court has allowed are-test of over 1,500 students who were awarded “grace marks.

On June 13, the NTA informed the Supreme Court that the scorecards of 1563 candidates who were awarded “grace marks” in the NEET-UG 2024 exam would be cancelled and these candidates would have an option to reappear for the exam on June 23, the results of which will be declared before June 30, or forgo the compensatory marks given for the loss of time.

NEET-PG postponed

The Union Health Ministry today (June 22) said it has decided to postpone the NEET-PG entrance examination, scheduled to be held on Sunday (June 23), as a precautionary measure in the wake of recent allegations on the integrity of certain competitive exams.

NTA facing criticism over alleged irregularities in exams

The National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducted the NEET-UG exams, is facing criticism over alleged irregularities in the exams. This resulted in several protests across the country with protestors and political parties demanding to disband the NTA. An unprecedented 67 candidates achieved a perfect score of 720 marks out of 720, which added to the concerns.

The Ministry of Education said it has constituted a high-level committee of experts to make recommendations on reforms in the mechanism of the examination process, improvements in data security protocols and the functioning of the NTA. The 7-member committee, led by ISRO former chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan, will submit its report to the ministry in the next two months.

“In order to ensure transparent, smooth and fair conduct of examinations through National Testing Agency (NTA), Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education constituted a High-Level Committee of Experts to make recommendations on Reform in mechanism of examination process improvement in data security protocols and structure and functioning of National Testing Agency,” the ministry said.

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(With inputs from agencies)