Days after his Thiruvannamalai visit stoked a controversy over shops selling meat around the temple premises, Governor R N Ravi has categorically stated that he will not clear the NEET exemption bill passed in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
"I will be the last man to give clearance- never, ever. I do not want my children to feel intellectually disabled. I want our children to compete and be the best. They have proved it," Ravi said while answering a question raised by a parent during his interaction with the NEET toppers in the state. He was talking in an event titled Think to Dare.
Stating that a myth was being propagated that only those utilising the services of coaching centres could clear the medical entrance, he said, "I am telling you very frankly, I will never give clearance to NEET bill, let it be very clear. Anyway it has gone to the President because it is a subject of Concurrent List, it is a subject to which only the President is competent to give clearance to."
Ravi also told the students and the government not to blame the standard or the level of teaching but to raise the standard. "Nothing beyond the lessons in the CBSE book is needed. Many students, I have seen have cleared it. They have cleared it well without going to coaching institutions. The book they have prescribed -- the CBSE book, that is a standard. If the standard is lower than that, don't blame that standard. Try to raise the standard. CBSE standard is a very good syllabus and NEET is not beyond that."
Stating that NEET is going to stay, he said "I want the children to be competitive, to be the best in the country."
The Tamil Nadu assembly had adopted the anti-NEET bill thrice - once during the earlier AIADMK regime and twice after the DMK government came to power. The NEET exemption bill was passed in the assembly for the second time in the DMK regime, after governor returned the bill.
Speaking to The Week over phone, Ammasiyappan Ramasamy, said that, "I have made my daughter succeed and then I am making this request. It is not that students from Tamil Nadu cannot do it. We can. But the money we spend for coaching is huge. People like me who can afford can spend. But imagine the plight of the poor who want to become a doctor. We don’t need NEET exams. Ban NEET."
Earlier on Friday, Ravi stirred yet another row, after his visit to the most popular Lord shiva temple in Thiruvannamalai, by expressing concern over serving of non-vegetarian food along the Girivalam path. Girivalam is the 14-km circumambulation path around the temple usually covered by foot by the devotees during full moon day. In a statement issued by the Raj Bhavan, after the visit, Ravi said that he was saddened to see the presence of restaurants and shops selling meat and non-vegetarian food.
However, Governor RN Ravi’s stern speech against the anti-NEET bill has only spelt doom for BJP President Annamalai who is on a padayatra in the name of En Mann En Makkal. Annamalai launched his Yatra two weeks before from Rameshwaram and is on a mission to cover all the 234 constituencies in Tamil Nadu to take the achievements of the BJP government in the centre.