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"There is no paper leak...government ready to give answers in court": Dharmendra Pradhan on NEET-UG exam controversy

New Delhi: Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said that there has been "no paper leak" in the NEET-UG paper and government is ready to give answers to the Supreme Court which is hearing the petitions related to the exam.
Pradhan, who took charge as Union Education Minister for his second successive term on Thursday, told mediapersons that 24 lakh students have successfully taken the NEET examination.
"I want to assure the students and their parents that the Government of India and NTA are committed to providing justice to them. Twenty-four lakh students have successfully taken the NEET examination. There is no paper leak, no proof has been found yet. A court-recommended model was adopted for around 1560 students and a panel of academicians has been formed for the same...We will accept the verdict of the Court," he said.
"There is no corruption. In connection with the NEET examination, 24 lakh students appear in the examination. A hearing in the Supreme Court is underway today and this issue is regarding around 1,500 students. Govt is ready to give answers to the Court. This specific issue is being taken into consideration and a committee of academicians has been formed. The Government will present this in front of the Court...NTA conducts 3 major examinations that is NEET, JEE and CUET successfully in the country...We will take action against the people responsible...," he added.
Minister of State for Education Jayant Chaudhary was also present at the press conference.
Answering queries, Pradhan said the system of two sets of question papers "is not a new practice".
"It has been in practice for many years. The final set is decided on the day of the examination, just before the exam. In six centres, the wrong set was circulated which delayed the exam there, by 40 minutes. The issue pertains to that incident only. The practice of two sets of question papers didn't appear suddenly," he said.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) on Thursday told the Supreme Court that score-cards of 1563 candidates who got "grace marks" in the 2024 National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Undergraduate) exam will be cancelled and the candidates will have a chance to reappear for the exam.
NTA told a bench of Justices Vikram Nath and Sandeep Mehta that a committee has been constituted to review the results of over 1,563 candidates who were awarded "grace marks" to compensate for the loss of time suffered while appearing for NEET-UG.
"The Committee has decided to cancel the score-cards of 1563 NEET-UG 2024 candidates who were given grace marks and these students will be given the option to take a re-test," NTA said.
"Exam will be conducted on June 23 and result will be declared before June 30," it added.
The Apex Court reiterated that it will not stay the counselling of NEET-UG, 2024.
"Counselling will go on and we will not stop it. If the exam goes then everything goes in totality so nothing to fear," said the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court will hear the petitions on July 8.
The Court took into record the statement of NTA that a re-test of 1563 students will be notified today itself and it would likely be held on June 23 and results would be declared before June 30 so that counselling which is set to begin in July is not affected.
Alakh Pandey, petitioner and CEO of Physics Wallah said, "Today, NTA accepted in front of the Supreme Court that the grace marks given to the students were wrong and they agree that this created dissatisfaction among the students and they agreed that they will remove the grace marks. Re-examination of those 1,563 students who got grace marks will be done on 23rd June or the original score without grace marks would be accepted by the students. NTA agreed in front of the SC that the grace marks they awarded were wrong. The question is if NTA has other discrepancies that we are unaware of. So, there is a trust issue with NTA...The issue of paper leak is open and hearing on that will continue."
Advocate Shwetank said, "We filed PIL regarding the NEET Exam issue and our main issue was regarding the paper leak and other malpractices by the NTA. The Court has directed that a re-examination will be conducted on 23rd June."
Aspirants have raised the issue of leakage of question paper, awarding compensatory marks and anomalies in question of NEET 2024.
Several petitions were filed in the apex court seeking direction to recall NEET-UG 2024 results and to conduct the examination afresh, alleging paper leakage and malpractices in the test held on May 5.
NEET-UG examination, conducted by NTA, is the pathway for admissions into MBBS, BDS and AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country.

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