New Delhi: Cutting across party lines, Lok Sabha members on Wednesday demanded that common entrance test for medical admissions be conducted in regional languages, expressing their unhappiness over the Supreme Court order for a single test from this year itself.
Sharing the concern of members, the government assured the House that it would try to convince the Supreme Court that more time is needed to switch over to the new system.
Last month, the apex court had asked the Centre and CBSE to conduct a single common entrance test for admission to MBBS and BDS courses, through National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET).
The court had also rejected the pleas of the state governments, private institutions and minority institutions for allowing conduct of separate entrance tests.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, members urged the government to take necessary steps to address the issue and suggested that an ordinance could also be brought in this regard.
Responding to the pleas made by the members, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the government in principle is in favour of having common joint entrance test.
"We will convey to the court that children need more time... We will reiterate and try to convince the court," Naidu said, adding that some state governments have also approached the court in this regard.
It is a serious issue and the court should appreciate it, he added.
According to him, there are two views about common entrance examination as some private institutions and state governments are conducting their own tests. Some malpractices have also been alleged, he noted.
Meanwhile, the Centre has approached the Supreme Court seeking permission to hold entrance examination for MBBS and BDS for the academic year 2016-17 in six regional languages.
Congress member Rajeev Satav urged the government to address the issue immediately either by bringing an ordinance or going back to the Supreme Court.
He also took a swipe at the Centre, saying there might have been some shortcomings in the submissions made by it before the apex court.
Tathagat Satpathy (BJD) demanded that the Centre should come out with a clear stance on the issue and go back to the court. "It is important for the government to take a clear stance... otherwise it would damage the future of students," he noted.
He recalled that earlier the Supreme Court had allowed conduct of the entrance examination in regional languages but later it was changed "Probably because of a weak case put up by the Centre".
Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar (TMC) said how students from remote areas, who have been preparing for the exam in regional languages for years, can be asked to appear for the common test now.
"Let us stand by students. We cannot let them suffer," she said, adding legislative measures should be initiated to address the issue as it concerns not just West Bengal but many other states also.
"Even if you are angry at some autonomous institutions...it should not be directed at poor students whose future would be in jeopardy," she said.
Emphasising that the entrance test should be conducted in a transparent and merit-based manner, Mohammed Salim (CPI-M) said there should be "uniform and level playing field" for the students.
The matter should have been discussed by the House, he added.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the common joint entrance examination should be deferred for this year and if that is conveyed to the Court, then there would be peace.
Prem Singh Chandumajra (SAD) said the Centre should include Punjabi as a language for conducting the entrance test as it is not currently in the list of languages given to the court.
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Updated Date: May 11, 2016 14:41:47 IST