The Centre told Parliament on Tuesday that the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for medical aspirants will not be scrapped, The Indian Express reported. Minister of State for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey said that the exam has ensured transparency and has reduced the burden of students, who had to appear for multiple exams earlier.

“NEET has resulted in ensuring better and minimum standards of medical education, curbing malpractices in medical admission,” Choubey told the Parliament. “It has led to greater transparency and reduced the burden on prospective students of appearing in multiple entrance exams.”

The minister said that Section 10D of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 mandates conducting of a uniform entrance examination – namely NEET – to all medical educational institutions at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. He said that the provisions of the Act to conduct NEET will apply across the country without any exemption.

Choubey also cited the Supreme Court’s order of 2016 that had allowed conduct of the exam. “The apex court vide order also ruled that only NEET would enable students to get admission to MBBS or BDS studies,” he said. “Accordingly, Section 10D was inserted in the IMC Act 1956.”

Last year, the health ministry had proposed scrapping NEET-PG for students aspiring to pursue post-graduate courses and had said that final MBBS examinations would be sufficient for admission to MD and MS courses.

A NEET impersonation scandal had erupted in Tamil Nadu last year. Eight first-year medical students had been arrested for recruiting impersonators to help them crack the examination. Two brokers, seven parents and a doctor were also taken into custody.

The Madras High Court had asked the government why the exam could not be cancelled in light of the scandal. The court had also said that NEET discriminates against the poor even though it was set up to “stop big money in medical admissions”.