New Delhi: The Centre on Friday allowed aspiring doctors - who had not cleared the medical entrance examination in the past - to appear for the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET) 2017, a move aimed at quelling protests from students against the rule that candidates will only get three attempts
The Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) that conducts the single entrance exam for all medical and dental colleges announced on Friday that NEET 2017 would be counted as the first attempt for all candidates.
The CBSE - which had blocked many students from filing their online application on grounds that they had already exhausted their three chances - said the board had made the changes to its website.
In many parts of the country including Uttar Pradesh, students had come out on the streets to campaign against the nationwide entrance exam.
This was the first time that the CBSE - on the advice of the Medical Council of India (MCI), which regulates medical education - had introduced the rule that gives aspirants only three shots at the getting into a medical college.
"Issue of number of attempts in NEET sorted out. Clarification received... that NEET 2017 will be treated as first attempt and two more will be given", Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar tweeted on Friday evening.
Over 10 lakh candidates are expected to register for the entrance exam to be conducted across 80 cities on May 7.
Friday's relaxation, however, does not address complaints that the centralised exam would put aspirants from reserved categories at a disadvantage in states such as Tamil Nadu which has a 69% reservation rule. The Centre allows only 49.5% quotas.
NEET was touted as the answer to end multiple entrance exams and complaints of corruption in admissions to medical colleges. The Supreme Court, however, initially declared NEET as illegal in 2013 but revised its decision in 2016. The Centre had given state-run institutions a one-time exemption from the test last year