An important test for aspirant Indian medical students is the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test Undergraduate (NEET-UG). To provide candidates more options, the All India Students Union (AISU) recently advocated holding the NEET-UG exam twice a year. The National Medical Commission (NMC) raised its reservations over the viability and cost consequences of conducting the exam more regularly in response to this recommendation.
The Age and Financial Burden Barrier
The Undergraduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB) of NMC brought attention to the enormous costs associated with holding the NEET test. The government exchequer would bear an excessive burden if the test were administered twice a year because such a large-scale national test requires significant funding and resources.
Additionally, the UGMEB emphasized that there is no upper age limit for taking the NEET-UG exam. Due to this adaptability, applicants of different ages are able to take the common admission exam for undergraduate medical programmes. These concerns led the NMC to the conclusion that it would not be practical to hold the NEET-UG twice a year.
The Demand for Biannual NEET-UG
Navneet Singh, a member of AISU, asked the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to consider holding the NEET-UG twice a year. The AISU member believed that holding the exam every two years would be more convenient for aspiring medical students. Candidates who don’t get medical seats on their first try would have a second chance, and they wouldn’t have to wait an entire year to apply again. Additionally, using this strategy would increase students’ motivation to achieve higher marks and increase their likelihood of getting into prominent medical schools.
The NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo’s main personal secretary, Dharmendra Bhandari, responded to the AISU letter by forwarding the complaint to the National Testing Agency (NTA) and emphasizing the possible advantages of holding NEET-UG twice yearly.
Clarification from the NMC
The UGMEB of NMC clarified the commission’s position on holding NEET-UG twice a year in a letter addressed to AISU. The letter noted that the Graduate Medical Education Regulations 2023—which are available on the NMC website—have lowered the upper age limit for NEET applicants. It further stated that all MBBS seats were successfully filled during the most recent counselling session, leaving no openings. As a result, it was decided that the exam didn’t need to be administered twice a year.
The NMC stressed the financial repercussions of holding NEET-UG more regularly, claiming that doing so will place a heavy financial load on the government exchequer. As a result, the commission decided that holding the exam twice a year was not practical. The upper age limit has been eliminated, though, thus NEET candidates are now free to sit for the exam the following year.
Public Reaction and Suggestions
AISU was disappointed by NMC’s response when asked if NEET-UG might possibly be conducted twice a year. While there have long been rumours and talks about NEET being conducted every two years, current events seem to indicate that it will continue to be an annual test. According to sources, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) approved the proposal of holding NEET twice a year, similar to how JEE Mains is conducted, in 2021. Nevertheless, those reports were ultimately discounted.
Dr. Bharati Pravin, the Union Minister of State for Health, made it clear during a Lok Sabha session that there are no present plans to hold NEET-UG exams twice a year. MP Shri Ramesh Chand Bind sent inquiries to the Union Health Ministry on the stress and depression NEET applicants go through when they can’t pass the test on their first try. The National Medical Commission (NMC) and the National Testing Agency (NTA), according to the ministry’s answer, have both affirmed that no proposal for biannual NEET-UG tests has been made.
Due to the associated costs and the lack of open MBBS seats, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has determined that holding the NEET-UG exam twice a year is not practical. While the plan aimed to provide ambitious medical students more opportunities, the NMC emphasized the enormous costs connected with holding the exam more than once annually. NEET-UG will still be held once a year as of right now, allowing applicants to plan and get ready for it.