Flagging the 16 suicide deaths of students over NEET in Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Monday urged President Droupadi Murmu to accord her assent at the earliest to the state's anti-NEET Bill.
Writing to the President, Stalin pointed to the "unfortunate consequences" due to the delay in the grant of approval to the Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Medical Degree Courses Bill, 2021 and urged her to provide assent immediately. The chief minister underscored the back-to-back suicide deaths of a son and his father on August 12 and 13 respectively due to the stress of NEET. "With this, the toll of students who have died by suicide due to NEET has increased to 16 in our State. These tragedies could have been definitely avoided if our Bill for exemption from NEET had been given assent and the medical admissions done on the basis of +2 marks," Stalin said in his letter to the President.
Giving a background to the legislative process, Stalin referred to the Justice A.K. Rajan Committee which studied the NEET-based admission process and its adverse impact on poor and rural students. “Later, based on the panel's report and deliberations,” the chief minister said, “the Bill was passed on September 13, 2021. Since it was returned by Governor R.N. Ravi after five months of delay, it was reintroduced in the assembly on February 8, 2022, and it was passed again after reconsideration and sent again to the Governor for reserving it for the President's consideration. The Governor forwarded the Bill to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and it has been pending President's assent. When the Home Ministry sought clarifications vis--vis the Bill, it was expeditiously made by the state government,” Stalin said.
However, the TN Bill has not been provided assent till now and students have been forced to undergo the NEET-based admission process. "This has caused immense anxiety and stress in the minds of the students and parents. As a result, there have been various sad incidents of students or their parents ending their lives, depressed by their failure to get admission to medical courses through NEET. The State's anti-NEET Bill is the outcome of legislative consensus, stemming from the 'collective will of the people' of Tamil Nadu. Each day of delay in its implementation costs not only valuable medical seats to deserving students but invaluable human lives to our society. I, therefore, solicit your immediate intervention in the matter and urge you to accord assent at the earliest to the above Bill passed by the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly," Stalin wrote to the President.