Amid 'NEET' chants and AAP boycott, President for 'measures beyond politics'

President Droupadi Murmu also spoke about democracy and the functioning of the houses of Parliament, the 1975 Emergency and Digital India

President Murmu addresses joint Parliament session with new 18th Lok Sabha (screengrab from Sansad TV)
President Murmu addresses joint Parliament session with new 18th Lok Sabha (screengrab from Sansad TV)

NH Political Bureau

Amid chants of 'NEET!' and calls for an AAP boycott, President Droupadi Murmu addressed a joint session of both Houses of Parliament on Thursday, 27 June.

She did mention the ongoing 'paper leak' cases, announcing that a high-level investigation has been launched to address the allegations.

President Murmu also spoke of the necessity of rising above partisan politics to reach a resolution to the concerns around the NEET and NET examinations, conducted by the NTA (National Testing Agency) and highlighted the government's implementation of strict laws against unfair examination practices.

"If due to any reason there is obstruction in examinations, it is not appropriate. Sanctity, transparency are a must in government recruitments and examinations," said President Murmu.

"My government is working towards rectifying the functioning of the agency responsible for conducting the examination (the NTA), along with improving the processes involved in the conduction of the exam... There is a need for measures beyond politics," she added.

President Murmu also addressed the government's efforts to ensure peace and stability in the North-East, noting that many other longstanding conflicts have been resolved and numerous agreements reached over the past decade (which covers both of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's two prior terms).

Concerns regarding the NEET exam were raised after an unprecedented 67 students, including six from a single coaching centre, achieved a perfect score of 720 in the highly competitive test.

Additionally, suspicions arose over 'grace marks' awarded to 1,563 students. Officially, these marks were for those who ran out of time, but it was later revealed that no protocol existed for awarding marks in this way.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was assigned to probe allegations of leaked question papers and investigate the possible involvement of a subset of criminal gangs, known as 'solver gangs'.

This investigation has led to multiple arrests in Bihar, Delhi and Maharashtra so far. Among those arrested from Bihar was Anurag Yadav, a NEET aspirant who admitted that he and his friends received copies of the question paper 24 hours before the exam.

Others arrested include Sanjeev Mukhiya from Bihar, described by the police as 'the mastermind', and Iranna Kongalwar from Maharashtra, who operated a coaching centre in Latur.

On 21 June, the Bihar Police detained six people from Jharkhand's Deoghar district in connection with the alleged irregularities in the medical entrance exam.

The NEET-UG was conducted by the NTA on 5 May with around 24 lakh candidates taking part in it. The results were announced on 4 June, but they were followed by allegations of question paper leaks in states such as Bihar, besides other irregularities.

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