NTA Faces Double Trouble: UGC-NET Cancelled Amid NEET Controversy

Mainstream
20-Jun-2024
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As controversy surrounding the NEET-UG examination continues, the National Testing Agency (NTA) has taken another hit by canceling the UGC-NET June 2024 exam, citing concerns over the integrity of the examination.


The UGC-NET June 2024 Examination, conducted in pen-and-paper mode on June 18 across 1,205 centers in 317 cities, saw nearly 10 lakh candidates vying for eligibility as Assistant Professors and junior research fellowships. However, on June 19, the University Grants Commission (UGC) was alerted by the National Cyber Crime Threat Analytics Unit of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) under the Ministry of Home Affairs about potential compromises in the examination process.


In response to these revelations, the Ministry of Education has decided to cancel the examination to "maintain transparency and integrity." A fresh examination will be scheduled, with details to be announced separately, according to a statement from the Press Information Bureau (PIB). The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been tasked with a thorough investigation into the matter.


This cancellation comes amid ongoing scrutiny of the NTA's handling of the NEET(UG) 2024 Examination. Allegations of irregularities, particularly in Patna, are under investigation, with a detailed report awaited from the Economic Offences Unit of the Bihar Police.


The NEET-UG results, announced on June 4, sparked controversy when 67 candidates achieved perfect scores of 720/720, and others scored 718 or 719—marks some claim are unlikely under normal circumstances. The NTA attributed these scores to a relatively easier exam, awarding extra marks due to errors and delays by NTA staff and invigilators, and an incorrect question.


Further complicating matters, the NTA has decided to retract the grace marks given to 1,563 candidates who were initially compensated for lost time and will now conduct a retest for them. Despite these measures, the government has denied allegations of paper leaks and irregularities in Bihar and Godhra. Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan assured reporters that "if any such allegations are proven true, those responsible will face consequences."


The Supreme Court has also weighed in, stressing the importance of a thorough investigation into the NEET irregularities. A vacation bench comprising Justices Vikram Nath and SVN Bhatti emphasized that "even if there is 0.001% negligence on the part of anyone, it should be thoroughly dealt with." 


The Court added that the NTA must ensure fair treatment of all candidates, remarking, "If there is a mistake, say yes, this is a mistake, and this is the action we are going to take. At least that inspires confidence in your performance."


As the NTA grapples with these dual crises, the integrity of its examination processes remains under severe scrutiny, with significant implications for millions of aspiring students across the country.


Author: Anushka Taraniya

News writer