No final decision on NEET yet but authorities looking at September date

Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The earlier decided date of August 1 for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test is likely to be changed even though the National Testing Agency is yet to finalise the date for the crucial competitive examination this year, The New Indian Express has gathered.

The examination could be held in September, provided the COVID-19 situation in India remains conducive, sources in the NTA under the Union education ministry said but added that a final decision will be taken after thorough discussions with the top echelons in the government.

The matter, said officials, will also be discussed with the newly inducted education and health ministers, Dharmendra Pradhan and Mansukh Mandwiya, in the coming days.

“As of now, we are consulting all the stakeholders involved, including the National Medical commission,” said a senior NTA official, adding that sufficient time will be given to students for registering and preparing for the test.

“We understand that there is a lot of anxiety and concern among students as the registrations for the examinations are yet to begin but we need to strike a balance between the safety of candidates and academic calendars of medical colleges,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a message issued on Friday to deny a fake examination related notification going round on various social media platforms, the agency stressed that it is still in consultation with the concerned stakeholders for finalising a suitable date for the conduct of the examination.

Many students have taken to social media to demand the postponement of the medical entrance exam till October.

Last year, this examination was held on September 13, in the middle of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic despite widespread protests to defer it, while the results were declared a month later.

This year, the hopes for this examination being held soon have risen especially as the government earlier this week announced fresh dates for two pending sessions of the Joint Entrance Examination (Main).

The April and May sessions of the examination have now been planned between July 20 and August 2 with a short break in between.

Authorities however also pointed out that as JEE(Main) is a computer-based test and is held over several days, it is easier to manage crowds at examination centres in comparison to NEET which is a pen and paper mode test and will see over 12 lakh students taking the test across India on the same day.