From the coming academic year, medical studies aspirants will be writing the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) in their respective districts, Union Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar informed Rajya Sabha on Thursday. The assurance came when a member spoke about various hardships faced by the students appearing for NEET, during the second day of the monsoon session of Parliament.

During  Zero Hour, AIADMK member from Tamil Nadu Vijila Sathyananth raised the issue of errors in the Tamil version of this year’s NEET question paper. As many as 49 erroneously translated questions appeared in the paper distributed to students who took the examination in Tamil. 

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on July 10 directed the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to award four marks each for every wrongly translated question. The CBSE has appealed against the verdict in the Supreme Court. 

Holding the Union government responsible for the ordeal of the students and parents, Ms. Sathyananth wanted the HRD Ministry to increase the number of medical seats irrespective of the outcome of the CBSE’s appeal since the first round of counselling for medical admissions has already ended in Tamil Nadu.

Ms. Sathyananth went on to highlight the shoddy handling of the examination. "A Tamil Nadu student went to Sikkim to write the examination," she said, adding that many Tamil Nadu students were asked to write the examination in neighbouring States and even in Rajasthan. She also claimed the girl students were asked to removed their nose pins, earrings and even their dupattas at some examination centres. "The government is answerable to the mental agony, hardships and sufferings of the students," she said. 

Mr. Javadekar, who was present in the House, said it was decided to use a single question paper across the country after issues cropped up last year due to use of different papers for different languages. He also claimed it was the Tamil Nadu government who had suggested translators, to which the AIADMK members registered their objection. 

The Minister said he wouldn’t comment on issuing grace marks to students since the matter was sub-judice.  When RS Chairperson M. Venkiah Naidu asked about students being made to travel long distances to take the examination, Mr. Javadekar replied: "There will be no displacement of children from next year. Every student will be able to write exam from his/her district."

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