NEET quota bill: Tamil Nadu passes order for 7.5% reservation for govt school students

CM orders reservation for medical and dental students who clear NEET

Palaniswami Edappadi Palaniswami | PTI

The AIADMK government led by Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Thursday took a bold and executive decision by issuing a government order to implement 7.5 per cent reservation to the students from government schools in MBBS admissions based on their NEET exam results.

The reservation will be implemented from this academic year itself.

The decision comes even though Governor Banwarilal Purohit has yet to give his assent for the 7.5 percent NEET reservation bill and said that he would “need at least three to four weeks” to take a decision in approving the bill.

The government order issued, however, clearly says that “there is an urgency to decide on this issue (quota bill) and since the power to the issue directions under Article 162 of the Constitution of India is co-extensive with legislative powers, pending decision of the governor, the government has taken the policy decision and issues orders.” The order has been issued only because the admission process has to begin.

The Tamil Nadu government on September 15 unanimously passed a bill in the state assembly to provide 7.5 percent reservation in undergraduate courses in medicine, dentistry, Indian medicine and homeopathy for government school students who clear NEET. The bill passed in the state assembly was sent to Governor Banwarilal Purohit for his assent for executing the legislation. Following this, a team of ministers called on the governor seeking his nod for the quota move. The ministers even informed the governor that the medical counselling has to be put on hold until he gives assent for the quota bill. But, Purohit reportedly informed the ministers that he was waiting for a legal opinion from Delhi lawyers for NEET quota reservation of 7.5 percent to government school students.

Sources say the BJP government in the centre was not happy with the Tamil Nadu government as it is the only state which had not implemented the 10 percent reservation for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS).

Sources also said that much pressure was exerted on the AIADMK government to clear the EWS quota in order to get assent for the 7.5 percent reservation. Meanwhile, Purohit wrote to DMK president M.K. Stalin saying he would need “three to four weeks time”—which again angered the ruling AIADMK.

By issuing executive directions to implement the quota bill, it seems the ruling AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu has chosen to take on the BJP’s policies on education and reservation. Months after making it clear that the state will only follow the two-language policy existing in the state and then condemning the BJP for using the images of AIADMK founder-leader MGR in its promotional videos, the AIADMK government led by Palaniswami has bowled yet another googly through the government order, putting its ally BJP in a fix.

But, political observers say Palaniswami has issued the GO only as a means of damage control, since reservation has turned into an emotional issue. Earlier, Palaniswami’s move to promote students with arrears backfired as the AICTE did not approve of the same.

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