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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tamil Nadu Government, DMK, ADMK all oppose CET

Reiterating its stiff opposition to the proposal of a Common Entrance Test (CET) to medical courses in the country, the government of Tamil Nadu on Thursday said it viewed the Centre’s move as an intrusion into the States’ rights to administer education.
In an official release, the State government recalled all the efforts made by it to prevent the implementation of CET to both under- and post-graduate courses by the Medical Council of India (MCI).
Chief Minister M Karunandihi wrote to both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad opposing the move.
It was cited in the letters that the State had abolished the entrance test through an act of the legislature and from 2007-08 admission was being given based on the mark-score of students. “The Chief Minister has strongly stressed that this system must be allowed to continue.”
Also, the government of Tamil Nadu has impleaded itself in a case involving the issue in Supreme Court on August 19. When the case came up on September 17, Tamil Nadu government’s counsel opposed the CET move.
Stating that CET would adversely impact the welfare of the Backward and Most Backward classes besides the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, the government said it had drawn the Centre’s attention to the issue.
State Health Minister opposed the move at a meeting of the Central Council of Ministers of Health and Family Welfare. Similarly, the Principal Health Secretary registered the State’s opposition to CET at a meeting convened by the MCI’s Board of Governors.
The Union Health Minister had promised Karunanidhi on August 27 that a final decision on the issue would be taken only after wider consultations at the national level.
“In keeping with their practice of deliberately criticising the government by overlooking all the facts, some had given statements that are far from truth.”

In a rare show of unity, DMK and AIADMK today joined hands in Rajya Sabha to oppose the Centre’s decision to introduce Common Entrance Test for medical colleges.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Paul Manoj Pandiyan (AIADMK) said the decision amounts to infringement on the rights of the States and will affect the prospects of students from rural areas.
He said the decision has sent shock waves among poor students wanting to enter into medical field.
Supporting him, Tiruchi Siva (DMK) said students from rural areas were not getting opportunity to enrol in medical colleges.
Members of AIADMK and DMK, rival political parties in Tamil Nadu, said that the entrance test in the State has been abolished.
Mr. Siva said the decision for CET was unwarranted. “We strongly oppose the move, which is aimed at usurping the powers of the State government,” he said, demanding that the status quo be maintained.

The Centre on Friday informed the Supreme Court that it supported the Medical Council of India's proposal to have a common entrance test (CET) for admission to post graduate medical courses and that it wanted to notify it within a week.
Solicitor-General (SG) Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for the Centre, also told a Bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice H.L. Gokhale that for the proposed MBBS CET the draft rules and regulations would be submitted to the court and the response of all States would be sought.
When Mr. Subramaniam sought the court's nod for issuing the notification, Justice Raveendran said: “We do not want to be party to the policy decision. How can we approve a proposal which is not before us. We must know what the proposal is. You first place the proposal before us, then we shall see.”
Justice Gokhale cautioned the Centre: “Now Tamil Nadu is opposing the CET for MBBS. A number of other States will also oppose. Students are now volatile, you have to understand this. Go step by step. Do it for PG first. Otherwise there are chances that you [Centre] may land in some other problem.” Referring to the Centre's plea for allowing notification of the PG CET, Justice Gokhale, in a lighter vein, said: “The court has contributed to many problems. We don't want to add one more problem.”
Justice Raveendran told Mr. Subramaniam: “If you notify the CET for MBBS without hearing the States, they will challenge it. We will be glad if some consensus is developed after the State governments respond to the notices. We cannot put a seal of approval without hearing the States, as one State government [Tamil Nadu] ad already opposed the system. Let us not rush it through. The proper way is to seek the response of the States and then notify it.”
To which, the SG said: “We will notify the CET for PG within a week and place on record the draft rules for MBBS CET.”
Counsel Harish Kumar, appearing for Tamil Nadu strongly opposed the CET both for MBBS and PG courses and said the State had enacted law abolishing CET for professional courses. Earlier, Mr. Subramaniam explained the steps being taken for arriving at a consensus and said it had received support from doctors, private and government medical colleges. Justice Raveendran was quick to point out “unfortunately, doctors don't make laws.”
Mr. Subramaniam said the CET was intended to improve the quality of medical education and medical services in the country.
Senior counsel Amrender Saran, appearing for the MCI, said new rules and regulations for the CET had been put in place and they had been approved by the government. There would be centralised counselling after the CET and at the end of the course there would an exit test for doctors. The Bench directed the matter to be listed after a week.

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