Student’s Suicide Leads Tamil Nadu CM to Introduce the NEET Exemption Bill

New Delhi, 15 September 2021 – The death of a medical aspirant hours before the NEET exam echoed in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Monday, 14th September 2021. According to officials, a 19-year-old NEET aspirant, Dhanush, was found dead in his home near Mettur in Salem district on Sunday. The student was suspected to have died by suicide, allegedly due to the fear of not succeeding in the exam as this was his 3rd attempt.ย 

A senior police official in Salem stated, โ€œThere is no suicide note, but circumstantial evidence points to suicide due to exam fear as Dhanush has failed twice in the past and couldnโ€™t get a medical admission.โ€

This incident led to the Tamil Nadu assembly passing a bill to scrap the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admissions to undergraduate medical degree courses in the state. The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has ensured that there will be no compromise on the issue of dispensing with NEET, and the DMK government will work hard to get the Presidentโ€™s final ascent to the bill passed by the Tamil Nadu assembly on Monday.ย 

โ€œNEET is not a qualifying exam and this is being exposed by scams such as the sale of question papers, impersonation of students and frauds by coaching centres. Our government is working to ensure that NEET, which is destroying social justice in education, is removed,โ€ he said in a statement.

In Tamil Nadu, NEET has become a very sensitive issue with 14 youngsters ending their lives over fears of not qualifying for the NEET.

Bill for NEET Exemption โ€“ Recent Turn of Events

To ensure social justice after incidences of so many tragic deaths, Stalin petitioned a NEET exemption bill in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on 14th September 2021, after it was dismissed on 14th July. The bill sought to exempt state medical aspirants from getting admissions in undergraduate courses through NEET.

As soon as the House convened, Opposition Leader, K Palaniswami referred to 19-year old Dhanush’s tragic death and targeted the government on the matter. Palaniswami pointed out that even though the DMK had promised to cancel the NEET exam 2021, it was not done on time. With the constant postponement and rescheduling of JEE and NEET exam dates crossing each other’s timelines, several students had not prepared well.ย 

Replying to all the allegations, Stalin, in turn, targeted the AIADMK over the rejection of bills enacted during its regime in 2017 to get the state exempted from the ambit of NEET and also for hiding it from the House.

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NEET Exemption Bill – How Will It Help?ย 

CM Stalin introduced the bill in the Tamil Nadu assembly and appealed to all to support it for social justice. Through this bill –ย ย 

  • Medical aspirants would be able to avail admission to the UG courses in government and private institutions in medicine, dentistry, Indian medicine, and homoeopathy based on their Class 12 marksย 
  • Government school students will get a 7.5% preference in seat allotment
  • The deserving rural and urban poor children who studied in government schools or in Tamil medium will get the rightful admission opportunity in medical colleges
  • Strong medical and health infrastructure will be created in the state, especially in the rural areas, as brilliant minds from those areas will get the opportunity to study medicine
  • The admissions will be based on marks obtained in the qualifying examination (10+2), through normalization methods, even during this pandemic

The CM also communicated to various media platforms that the bill has been proposed only after considering the recommendations by a high-level committee. The inputs were provided by the Retired Justice AK Rajan Committee, who was appointed to study the impact of NEET on students from economically backward sections of the society.ย 

Stalin pointed out that NEET is in favour of students who are economically strong and can attend coaching classes. He said, โ€œSaying that NEET increases the quality of medical education is false. Quality of education is not based on enrolling students.โ€

The state BJP challenged this bill in the Madras High Court, which was disposed of. After submitting the committeeโ€™s report to Stalin on 14th July 2021, Justice AK Rajan said that a majority among the 86,343 stakeholders in the exercise, were against NEET.

If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, help them by sharing these helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional support to individuals and families:
Tamil Nadu
State health department’s suicide helpline: 104
Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre – 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)

Andhra Pradesh
Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930
Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584

Karnataka
Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222

Kerala
Maithri: 0484 2540530
Chaithram: 0484 2361161
Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.

Telangana
State government’s suicide prevention (tollfree): 104
Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200
SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 and 7 pm)
24×7 Helpline: 9820466726

Working Helplines across India