NEET: Students deserve corruption-free exam process

The Supreme Court hit the nail on the head when it observed earlier this week that the sanctity of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) has been compromised. On Thursday, it cancelled the grace marks awarded to 1,563 students. But this is only a small part of the mess that threatens to jeopardise the futures of 2.4 million students who spent years preparing for the examination. At the heart of the matter is the unprecedented inflation of marks and the inability of the National Testing Agency (NTA) to offer a cogent explanation.

Even in Arunachal Pradesh, many students have complained about the poor marking system. The list of anomalies is too long to ignore or chalked up to coincidence. The government may have denied any leak, but the expert panel it has set up needs to delve deep into what went wrong. Cancelling the 4 June results and conducting a new test should not be off the table. Transparency and public course-correction are needed to restore trust in the process. With the rush of aspirants for medical education, the NEET has become an elimination test rather than an examination of the skills needed for prospective healers. There are just 1,10,000 seats available in 706 medical colleges, of which only 56,405 are in government colleges or institutions backed by the government. Students already face an uphill battle. They deserve an examination process which is trustworthy and corruption-free. Or else their confidence will be hit hard.