The National Testing Agency, which now conducts the Indian Institute of Technology’s Joint Entrance Examination for engineering colleges, said on Thursday that question papers in regional languages were made available only to those states that had requested for them. Previously, the exam could be taken only in English and Hindi.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Wednesday criticised the Narendra Modi-led government for including only Gujarati in the list of regional languages in which the IIT-JEE can be taken. Banerjee had asked why other regional languages had been ignored. “If Gujarati has to be there, then all regional languages including Bengali must be there,” she had said.
In a press release, the National Testing Agency said: “The JEE (Main) Examination started in 2013 with the idea of all States admitting their Engineering candidates through JEE (Main). The request was sent to all the States in the year 2013 itself. Only the Gujarat State agreed to admit their candidates in State Engineering Colleges of Gujarat through JEE (Main) and requested that the JEE (Main) paper be made available in Gujarati language.”
The statement added that in 2014, Maharashtra requested that question papers be made available in Marathi and Urdu. In 2016, both Gujarat and Maharashtra stopped taking admissions to state engineering colleges through the JEE. However, the Gujarat government requested that the translation of JEE (Main) question paper in Gujarati language continue, the press release said.
“None of the other States have approached NTA to provide the JEE (Main) question paper in any other Indian National Language,” the agency said.
On Thursday, Banerjee reiterated that she has no problem with the exam being conducted in Gujarati, ANI reported. “Our Education Minister [Partha Chatterjee] had also written to National Testing Agency on this issue to conduct the test in Bengali,” she said. However, Banerjee said that the Centre should have sought proposals from states before selecting regional languages for the exam, PTI reported.
“If the central government is taking a decision, they should have asked the state government,” she said. “How do we know? Are we the God? We are not the God, so how do we know what is in their mind? They should have informed the state government that please send it [proposal for inclusion of a regional language for writing the test].”
West Bengal Chief Secretary Gautam Sanyal wrote to the National Testing Agency on Thursday, asking for Bengali to be included in the list of languages in which IIT-JEE question papers will be published next year. He also asked for other languages to be included.
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