Won't tolerate malpractice, accountability in NTA to be fixed if lapses found: Union Education Minister on NEET

NEW DELHI, Jun 14 : The government will not tolerate any malpractice or irregularities in the conduct of exams and accountability of the National Testing Agency will be fixed if lapses are found, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Friday amid a row over medical entrance exam NEET.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) has come under criticism amid allegations of irregularities and inflation of marks in the medical entrance exam.
About action taken against six centres where the exam paper was wrongly distributed and candidates had to be compensated with grace marks to make up for the loss of time, he said, "Every aspect is being looked into. Accountability will be fixed and depending on the nature of lapse, action will be taken."
"There is no scope for any malpractice or irregularities in the conduct of any exam.We will not tolerate that. The accountability of the National Testing Agency (NTA) will also be fixed if lapses are found," Pradhan said in response to a question by PTI.
"The government is committed to protecting the interests of NEET examinees. Concerns of students will be addressed with fairness and equity. Facts related to NEET are in cognisance of the Supreme Court. The counselling process will be underway soon and it is of utmost importance to move ahead in this direction without any confusion," he added.
The minister's comments came on a day when the Congress stepped up its attack on the government over the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET)-UG exam issue and questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "silence" on the matter.
The opposition party asserted that only a Supreme Court-monitored forensic probe can safeguard the future of lakhs of young students.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge claimed the Modi government has started "covering up the NEET scam" through the Union education minister and NTA.
"They have just lost the elections and are now looking for a new issue. We have the facts and misleading students and the public based on lies is not right," he added.
Explaining the rationale behind the rise in the number of toppers and cut-off marks this year, Pradhan said the syllabus for NEET was reduced as per the syllabus rationalised by NCERT.
"In previous years, the NEET syllabus wasn't cut down. This year we also aligned the questions with the state boards' syllabus. Less syllabus and more number of candidates also led to the rise in competition and ultimately increase in the number of top scorers," the Union education minister said.
Pradhan reiterated that there is no concrete proof to establish the allegations of paper leaks in this year's NEET-UG exam.