Following the good performance of its students in the National Entrance-cum-Eligiblity Test (NEET) for medical college seats this year, the Tamil Nadu government has fixed higher cut off marks for admission.
The cut-off marks, unveiled by State Health Minister C Vijaybhaskar on 16 November, are 80 more across all categories compared to last year.
This year, the State government has also earmarked 7.5 per cent seats in government and private medical colleges for students who have studied in government schools.
The higher cut-off marks is a significant development, given the resistance to NEET from almost all the political parties, barring the Bharatiya Janata Party, in Tamil Nadu.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the principal Opposition party, is talking of scrapping NEET, though no one knows how, since it is being held based on a Supreme Court ruling.
NEET was introduced in 2013 by the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance government to help students avoid writing entrance tests to multiple medical colleges to get a seat.
On 13 April 2016, the Supreme Court made NEET mandatory for all admissions to medical colleges and said it would be based on the rank obtained in the entrance exam.
This year, 99,610 students appeared for NEET in Tamil Nadu and 57.44 per cent cleared it against 48.57 per cent last year.
Also clearing the entrance exam were 747 government school students.
Including 600-odd seats cleared by the Union government this year, the number of medical colleges seats in Tamil Nadu, currently, is around 4,000.
Another 1,000 seats will be added in the coming years, State Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said recently.
Of the total seats, the open category has only 940 seats, with the cut-off marks for it being 601. For the 1,430 seats available for Backward Class candidates, the cut-off marks is 560.
Most Backward Class students need at least 526 marks to get medical seats, while Scheduled Castes need to have scored a minimum of 453 marks. For Scheduled Tribes, the cut-off limit is 348 marks.
Tamil Nadu government has a total reservation of 69 per cent for admissions to educational institutions and government jobs.
One of the features of medical college admissions this year, though, is that the number of applications has dropped 20 per cent to around 38,000. Counselling for the seats begins tomorrow (18 November).
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