Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Thursday said that an all-party meeting will be held in Chennai on January 8 to discuss the state government’s demand for exemption from the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, PTI reported. The NEET examination is held for admission to undergraduate medical degree courses.

Stalin also said that an all-party delegation of MPs led by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s TR Baalu was unable to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss the matter on Wednesday. He added that the Centre has not taken any action on Tamil Nadu’s Bill exempting the state from NEET.

In September, the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a Bill to scrap the entrance examination for admissions in the state. The state governor RN Ravi has not yet forwarded the Bill to the President for his assent, according to The Times of India.

Stalin, while speaking in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Thursday, asserted that “our struggle against NEET and for social justice will continue”. He said that NEET was against the interests of students in rural areas, and also contended that the entrance test took away the right of states to decide on the manner of conducting medical admissions.

Stalin also alleged that Shah refused to meet the delegation of his party MPs. Doing so, he said, was “anti-democratic”, The News Minute reported.

“Tamil Nadu is a forerunner in the health sector with well-trained doctors, who studied in medical colleges with admissions they got based on school education,” the chief minister said. “But Union Government has brought in NEET which affects the students and paves way for those who can afford to undergo costly training to sit for the exam.”

Stalin said that NEET “made a joke out of 12 years of a child’s school education, by making it completely useless”.

The Tamil Nadu government has demanded that students should be admitted to medical colleges based on their Class 12 marks.

Tamil Nadu’s opposition to NEET

NEET is prepared by the Central Board of Secondary Education and based on its own syllabus, which is very different from the Tamil Nadu board’s syllabus. For this reason, Tamil Nadu has been opposing the examination, arguing that a common entrance test would harm the prospects of state board students.

In September, three NEET aspirants had died by suicide in the state, leading to massive outrage.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, however, has claimed that the people of Tamil Nadu want NEET, but the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam does not.