The Centre on Tuesday gave in to the state government's demand and has decided to conduct the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for undergraduate medical admissions (NEET-UG) in Odia. The decision was conveyed to the state during the course of a video-conferencing between state health department officials and their central counterparts, a senior government official said.
"We were told that the Central Board of Secondary Education has already been instructed to include Odia as a medium for NEET. A notification will be issued by the Centre soon," the official added.
Sources said apart from Odia, Kannada too was included in the list. This takes the number of regional languages in which the national-level test will be held to eight, apart from Hindi and English. Students willing to take the test in Odia will have to specifically mention it while filing up their application forms.
On December 21, the Union ministry of health and family welfare had announced its decision to host this year's NEET-UG in Hindi, English, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Telugu and Tamil.
The NEET 2017 date was scheduled to be notified in the last week of December, but it got delayed because of the language issue. The CBSE is expected to issue the time-line for application and entrance test soon.
Soon after the directive, the Odisha and Karnataka governments pressed the Centre for inclusion of the native languages. On December 22, chief minister Naveen Patnaik wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention in the matter. Four days later, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan too wrote to health minister J P Nadda seeking the inclusion of Odia.
In an unrelated development, the state has sought clarification from the Centre as to who will be conducting the counselling for medical/dental admission in deemed universities.
"Till last year, the deemed universities used to conduct their own pre-admission tests and counselling. Since NEET has been made mandatory for all institutions from this year, we want a clarity on how their counselling will be done," a government official said.
Source : The Times of India