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NEET UG Controversy Unfolds as Students Plan March to Parliament Over Examination Irregularities

The ongoing agitation against alleged irregularities in the National Testing Agency (NTA) conducted examinations — including NEET UG, PG, and UGC NET — has reached a critical juncture. Thousands of students, who have been staging a sit-in protest at Delhi’s historic Jantar Mantar, are now gearing up for a march towards the Parliament on Tuesday. Their demands include a reformation in the examination system and accountability from the authorities in charge.

The relentless protest has reached its sixth day, as scores of students continue to assert their demands under the collective banner named “India against NTA”. Demonstrators are calling for the banishment of the NTA, the resignation of Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, and a comprehensive re-examination of NEET-UG for all students. The protestors believe these measures are crucial to restoring the integrity of the national exam system.

On Monday, the steadfast protesters temporarily halted their sit-in after making speeches and holding up banners that underscored their frustrations and demands. One of the primary rallying cries revolved around the discontinuation of the national entrance exam, advocating instead for the reinstitution of the old, university-specific entrance examination system, which they argue was more reliable and fair.

In a vivid display of solidarity, members from Left-affiliated student organizations such as the All India Students’ Association (AISA) and the Delhi University’s student union Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS) joined the swelling ranks of the protestors. Their participation has added a political dimension to the protest, amplifying the call for systemic reforms in national-level examinations.

Chanting impassioned slogans and wielding placards, students demanded immediate action from the authorities. The chorus of “anti-NTA” slogans reverberated through Jantar Mantar as the cohorts reiterated their primary demands, which culminated in the declaration of an impending march to Parliament.

The students’ outcry has been sparked by a series of reported paper leaks and corruption incidents in NTA supervised examinations, particularly in Bihar and Gujarat. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has stepped in to scrutinize these allegations, launching probes at multiple exam centers to unravel the extent of the malpractices. These investigations underscore the seriousness of the claims and add weight to the students’ grievances.

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Adding to the students’ woes, the NTA recently announced new dates for previously postponed examinations such as UGC NET, Joint CSIR-UGC NET, and the National Common Entrance Test (NCET). These new dates, however, have done little to appease the protestors. According to the NTA, the rescheduled UGC NET will now be held from August 21 to September 4, while the Joint CSIR-UGC NET exams are slated for July 25-27, and the NCET will take place on July 10. Despite these adjustments, the students remain undeterred in their quest for comprehensive systemic changes.

The protestors argue that patchwork solutions like rescheduling exams do not address the root problems plaguing the system. Their call for the resignation of Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan highlights their demand for accountability at the highest levels. They contend that the Minister’s resignation would symbolize an acknowledgment of the systemic issues and a commitment to rectifying them.

Moreover, the agitation has drawn significant media attention, intensifying public scrutiny on the NTA and the Ministry of Education. This media spotlight has not only given voice to the students’ demands but has also pressured policymakers to reassess the efficacy and transparency of the current examination framework.

While NTA officials have assured that measures are being taken to safeguard the integrity of future exams, the students demand more tangible assurances. They argue that without significant reforms, the confidence in national-level examinations remains undermined.

This developing situation indicates a pivotal movement within the Indian education system, fueled by student activism and demands for accountability. As the protestors prepare for their march to the Parliament, the coming days will be crucial in determining whether their demands will be met and what changes, if any, will be implemented to restore trust in the national examination process.

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