New Delhi: As the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) began today amid strict COVID-19 precautions, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank  extended his best wishes to the medical aspirants. Taking to Twitter, he wrote,”I am sure that candidates will appear for NEET exam and would follow guidelines with utmost patience and self-confidence just like JEE.” He also expressed gratitude towards states for making adequate arrangements for candidates in the wake of the novel coronavirus. Also Read - NEET Answer Key 2020 Released, Final Results Soon | Marking Scheme, Direct Link Here

A total of 15.97 lakh candidates have registered for the medical entrance exam, which was originally scheduled for May 3, but was pushed to July 26, and then to September 13. Also Read - First-Year Classes For Session 2020-21 to Begin From November 1, Announces UGC

In order to maintain social distancing, the NTA has increased the number of exam centres from originally-planned 2,546 to 3,843, while the number of candidates per room has been reduced from earlier 24 to 12. “For ensuring social distancing outside examination halls, a staggered entry and exit of candidates has been planned. Adequate arrangements have also been made outside examination centres to enable candidates stand with adequate social distancing while waiting,” a senior NTA official said. Also Read - NEET 2020: NTA to Release Official Answer Key Soon on Official Website | Get Latest Updates Here

Besides, candidates have also been issued an advisory guiding them about the ‘dos and don’ts’ for proper social distancing. “We have also written to states governments to extend support in local movement of the candidates so that they are able to reach their examination centres in time,” the official added.

On the other hand, Samajwadi party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav launched a scathing attack on the Centre over the suicides of medical aspirants in Tamil Nadu. Yesterday, the state witnessed a spate of alleged suicides by medical aspirants on the eve of the NEET. A girl and two men, aged between 19 and 21, allegedly died by suicide in Madurai, Dharmapuri and Namakkal districts, sending shock waves across Tamil Nadu.