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J&K keeps options open despite constitutional protection

October 7, 2012

Despite having special constitutional protection, Jammu and Kashmir government was yet to take a firm stand about its participation in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Undergraduate (NEET-UG) and Postgraduate (NEET-PG) medical courses, which have been notified for commencement from 2013-14.
Sources in the Medical Education Department revealed that though the state government has decided not to participate in the common medial entrance examination being conducted in November this year, it has delayed a final decision over the issue and instead has decided to constitute a committee to look into the matter.
The notification on the official website for NEET, established by the Medical Council of India, has added to the confusion of the state aspirants as available seats in Government Medical Colleges of Srinagar and Jammu have been displayed despite the fact that the state has not given its consent. Mover, the MCI has also established an examination center in Jammu for the upcoming test.
“We have decided not to participate in the examination this year. We made it clear to the union ministry that inclusion of Jammu and Kashmir is such a test may be seen as an erosion of Article 370, under which only the students from the state can be admitted in various professional courses being offered by the state government”, a senior official in the department said.
He added that it was, however, surprising that the department has not made things clear and instead has deferred the final decision over the issue. “Under any circumstances if the state participate in the national test the students from Jammu and Kashmir will be the major sufferers”, official, on the condition of anonymity said.
“There are apprehensions that if government decides to participate in the test in next session, the seats in state run medical colleges will go into the hands of students from other states, thus eroding the sanctity of Article 370” sources said, adding that it was only due to the constitutional protection that no medical colleges of Jammu and Kashmir was allowing admission to non state subjects.
When contacted, Commissioner Secretary of Health and Medical Education, MK Dewedi confirmed that a final decision was yet to be taken as the department has not closed the option to participate in the common entrance test.
He said that a committee of experts will be constituted to deliberate various aspects and intricacies of the issue.
He said that the Committee will submit its report to the department, which will place it before the cabinet for a final decision.
Sources, meanwhile, disclosed that this year the medical exam for Post Graduate seats in state would be conducted by J&K Board of Professional Entrance Examinations (BOPE) and would be held as per previous schedule in the month of February.
“At all India level, the notification for conducting of PG medical exam, has been issued and applications from all the states except J&K, have been asked to apply online, till November 12, while the tentative date for the conduct of exam will be in December” sources said.

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