NEET, JEE main 2020: Despite opposition concern, Education ministry moves to conduct exams

NEET, JEE main 2020: Even as pressure piled from several states and opposition parties questioning the wisdom to conduct NEET and JEE exams in September, Education Ministry and the National Testing Agency (NTA) continued working for what would be the biggest entrance tests to be held during a pandemic.

For JEE (Main), 7.41 lakh out of 8.58 lakh registered candidates have downloaded their admit cards. Only 332 candidates have requested for change of their centre cities, which are being considered positively, a government official said. For NEET, 6.84 lakh out of 15.97 lakh registered canddiates downloaded their Admit Cards in the first 5 hours, since start of the downloading at 11.55 am on Wednesday, the official added.

Also Read: NEET Admit Card 2020 released at, here’s direct link to download

The promptness was seen by many in the education ministry as desire and willingness among students to take the tests.

The JEE (Main) exam will be held in 660 centres across India from September 1 to 6, while NEET candidates would take the exam in 3842 test centres on September 13.

Also Read: JEE Mains 2020 admit card released at, here’s how to download

According to a government official, the education ministry is keen to hold the exam because it will help keep the academic year on track and not keep students in perpetual uncertainty. Asked if any criteria could be chosen to select students for admission, the official said there was no alternative to these exams especially because colleges like IITs and AIIMS were highly coveted.

The NTA has been emphasizing that it will hold the exams safely and a detailed protocol had been put in place.

Also Read: NTA says NEET, JEE Main 2020 exams in September, informs about steps taken for safety of candidates  

Among the states which have questioned the move to hold the NEET and JEE exams are West Bengal, Delhi, Odisha and Tamil Nadu. These are states from which large number of candidates are going to appear in the two exams.

For the JEE (Main) exam there are 37,790 candidates from Delhi, 38,236 from Odisha, 53,765 from Tamil Nadu and 37,973 from West Bengal. The highest number of candidates are from Maharashtra and second highest from Uttar Pradesh.

Also Read: NEET, JEE Main 2020: Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik seeks postponement of exam

For NEET there are 53,993 candidates from Delhi, 37,459 from Odisha, 117,990 from Tamil Nadu and 77,061 from West Bengal. Maharashtra and UP are the top two states in terms of number of candidates for NEET as well.

Clearly NTA needs support from states for holding the tests. However, several states do not concur with NTA’s judgment.

Also Read: No NEET exam abroad, but students allowed to come by flight: SC

One of the strongest defences in favour of conducting examinations in recent days has come from IIT Delhi Director V Ramgopal Rao. In a post on social media, Rao said he was for conducting the examinations after taking all precautions and following social distancing norms.

“Lockdown is not a solution to COVID. Lockdown was needed to prepare ourselves better. We cannot be perpetually in lockdown mode. COVID is not going to go away for another 6 months to one year. We all need to get used to this new normal. The earlier we realise, the better it is for all of us. The last postponement of exams definitely helped us prepare well now,” Rao had said.

Also Read: Mamata Banerjee appeals to centre to postpone JEE, NEET exams

Significantly, IIT Delhi is the organising institute for the JEE (Mains) which is also slated in September itself.

“As far as JEE Mains is concerned, the exam is now conducted multiple times in a year. In case some students cannot write the JEE Mains this time, they can take the exam after 6 months again. I don’t see any reason for a concern. The consequences of postponing these exams any further can have serious repercussions on IIT academic calendars and for the candidates. I fail to see how we can run two batches together. It will become a zero academic year for lakhs of students…We have already lost 6 months. If we conduct the exams in September, we can at least start the sessions in IITs (could be online) in December. Tinkering with the examination pattern or admission processes in these times will also be detrimental and unfair for every one,” Rao had said.

Also Read: ‘This isn’t practical, postpone exams’: Aaditya Thackeray to PM Modi

“The JEE exams should be held as per their schedule in September 2020. A large number of students and their parents want the exams to be conducted and looking forward to the wait to end now. The pandemic has already disrupted the academic plans of many students and institutions and we don’t see the pandemic going away anytime soon. We should not let this be a zero academic year as it might have consequences on the bright future of several students. Students and their parents need to have faith in the system. The decision to conduct these exams has been taken post considering every aspect of the current situation. The government has been ensuring that all necessary arrangements would be done to safeguard the health and safety of the students. Delaying the exams would have a cascading effect thus we should come together in understanding its importance and support the system in conducting it seamlessly” – Prof. Ajit K Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee.

Also Read:Put JEE, NEET on hold, DMK chief Stalin urges Centre

“The centralised formats of exams like NEET posed more serious Challenges to the students in this pandemic situation. The students coming from socially and economically background, rural and far flung areas will find it very difficulty to cope these Challenges and may be forced drop out from the examination. This will add to financial stress to such households. Many areas are facing lock down, non-availability of public transport and hotels and flood situation. The experience of crowding at exam centres in different states add to worries of spread of infection. The solution should be inclusive and decentralised in nature. The NEET, JEE should be postponed till the time proper preparation is done. States should be given the responsibility to conduct the exams with more centres at sub-district level. The health and safety concerns of the students can not be ingnored at any cost,” said Delhi University Executive Council member Dr Rajesh Jha.

Also Read: Over 4000 students participate in day-long hunger strike demanding postponement of JEE, NEET and other exams

“There were always apprehensions that holding of JEE (Mains), NEET, CLAT, and other entrance tests by NTA in the proctored mode at chosen centres has the potential of degenerating into a Centre- States confrontation. The future and fate of almost 30 lakh students is involved and political slugfest on them is unfortunate. Supreme Court of India has clearly approved holding of these tests after ensuring all the safety measures against Covid. Future of millions of young students cannot be allowed indefinitely to be kept in tense limbo. Nation has to fight Covid and yet go on. As to when the Covid situation shall become normal cannot be predicted with any certainty,” said former UGC member Dr Inder Mohan Kapahy.

Also Read: NEET, JEE 2020: Punjab CM asks AG to coordinate with counterparts to file petition on entrance exams

“NTA authorities have categorically assured that all the Covid norms shall be observed at the designated centers. However the difficulty is in the students reaching their centers safely. Also if the students and their guardians have to stay overnight it adds to difficulties. Instead of fighting Centre, States and NTA should coordinate their efforts to increase the number of centers to facilitate accessibility and to arrange for transport from designated cities/towns and for lodging for the night for those who cannot do without it. There is huge pressure from a large sections of candidates and their parents to hold these tests. They fear zero year,” Kapahy added.

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