NEET 2017 will be conducted on May 7, 2017 this year. The year the students appearing for the NEET medical entrances are left confused with the number of changes and controversies. The CBSE has notified the entrance examination to be conducted across 80 cities. This year approximately over 10 lakh candidates  for NEET exam is expected to appear for the examination. Over 8 lakh students had registered for the exam in 2016 which was held in two stages in 2016 NEET I and NEET II.  In 2016, the NEET UG exam had  also been surrounded by controversies and the Supreme court  has passed the verdict that National-Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET) is mandatory for admission to MBBS, private medical colleges and universities in Tamil Nadu, that have implemented NEET for admissions in 2016, have expressed concerns about the process.

The medical aspirants applying for NEET UG 2017 exam for MBBS and BDS course are once again embroiled in confusion and controversies regarding the exam. The controversies which have been plagued the NEET aspirants include the announcement made by CBSE regarding the age limit, followed by the backlash by the students regarding the new eligibility criteria,  states continue to raise objections regarding the NEET, choice of medium of language, students approach High Court and blame confusion of states that made them miss the deadline. Here are some of the highlights of the controversies: 

CBSE announces age limit and restrictions on attempts for NEET UG exam 

There has been a huge uproar regarding the  age limit  and attempts for the NEET UG exam. In January 2017, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)  announced that the aspirants have to be at least 17 and not over 25 years old to give the NEET paper.  It was also announced that the students would be given only 3 attempts to crack the NEET exam. Apparently, the reason for this decision was taken to ensure that older candidates do not compete with younger candidates. The decision has also been taken to ensure that the fraudulent  practices can be curbed and the cases of cheating can be prevented. At present, the aspirants who have attained the age of 25 years are not being allowed to fill the application forms.  It is expected that the Supreme Court will pass the verdict  by March 20, 2017 while for restrictions on attempts for NEET UG exam, it has been notified that the aspirants who appear for NEET UG 2017 exam on May 7, 2017 will be considered as first attempt.

Medium of instruction for the NEET UG exam

The Central government has allowed the candidates to take the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for post graduate and under graduate in eight languages — Hindi, English, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu. However now the NEET UG exam will also be conducted in Oriya and Kannada. This is the first time that CBSE will issue question papers in vernacular languages. It was aimed at addressing criticism that a centralised exam would be unfair to students whose medium of instruction was a regional language. The Student Islamic Organization (SIO) demanded that the NEET exam should also consider Urdu as a medium of instruction. They also stated that  the decision to not  include Urdu is unjustified and biased toward students who have chosen Urdu as their medium of instruction in the higher secondary and senior secondary education in Urdu medium. However, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition and stated that NEET exam can be conducted in Urdu from next year.

Students approach High Court and blame confusion of states that made them miss the deadline 

The students also approached the High Court and blamed confusion of states that made them miss the deadline to fill the NEET online application form.  A student recently missed the deadline or submitting the online NEET application form for writing the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) which is mandatory for MBBS/BDS admissions in Tamil Nadu and the student has also blamed the delay on confusion over the NEET status in Tamil Nadu. The student has now moved the Madras high court. P Desiyan of Salem had also urged the court to direct the state and central authorities to accept his belated application with fee, so that he could write NEET-2017.

States like Tamil Nadu oppose the NEET exam

States like Tamil Nadu have opposed the NEET exam stating that the students from the CBSE board will be at a advantage, while the students taking the exam from the state board will face difficulty. They are also of the opinion that the state health minister of Tamil Nadu  C Vijaya Baskar, also seeked to admit students to undergraduate medical courses based on their marks in Class 12 board examinations. Justice N Kirubakaran of Madras High Court stated  on March 15, that when all other states have not objected (to NEET), what is the reason for Tamil Nadu alone opposing it in and whether they lack faith in the capability of their students appearing for the NEET medical entrance exam. In the petition, Tamil Nadu government also cited that the reason for discontinuing the entrance exam is for making it  a level playing field for the rural students who don’t have access to private coaching centres who coach the students on the entrance tests.