Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said the Centre was ready to exempt Tamil Nadu from the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for one year if the state government promulgated an Ordinance. She emphasised that the Ordinance must specify that the exemption was sought to help rural students to get admission in government medical colleges, The Hindu reported.

“As for private colleges and deemed universities, Tamil Nadu is already admitting students as per Neet,” she said. “The problem comes only in terms of government college admissions and also in terms of seats surrendered by private colleges to government colleges. Rural students face difficulty in getting admissions. That is our understanding based on the interaction with the state.”

Around 4000 seats are available in government medical colleges. Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar is likely to submit an Ordinance on Monday seeking an exemption for the state from Neet for one year. “The state has been seeking permission only for government-run colleges,” VijayaBaskar said, according to The Times of India. “We will soon hold consultation for quick action.”

Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan will leave for New Delhi on Sunday evening to accelerate the process.

The Neet controversy

On July 22, Stalin had said that the test had put social justice in danger. He had said that his Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party had ensured reservation to economically-weak communities in Tamil Nadu, which had helped students from lower backgrounds become engineers and doctors. The DMK had planned a protest on the matter on July 27.

Currently, medical college admissions across India are done on the basis of Neet scores. However, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led state government has been opposing the examination. They have been asking for reservation to protect the interests of students from Tamil Nadu.