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Medical Aspirants Flag Marks Inflation In NEET, NTA Denies Irregularities

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Several aspirants of the medical entrance exam NEET have alleged inflation of marks which led to a record 67 candidates bagging the top rank, including six from the same exam centre.

The National Testing Agency (NTA), however, denied any irregularities and said the changes made in the NCERT textbooks and grace marks for losing time at the examination centres are some of the reasons behind the students scoring higher marks.

The results announced by NTA on Wednesday evening saw 67 students sharing rank one, including six from same examination centre in Haryana.

“After the NEET exam, now the NEET result is also in controversy. After the NEET results were declared, questions are being raised on six students from the same centre getting 720 out of 720 marks. Apart from this, many other irregularities related to the NEET exam have also come to light,” the Congress wrote on X.

“First due to paper leak and now due to result error, the future of lakhs of youth of the country is getting ruined. It is clear that this government cannot get any paper done without leaking it. Sir claims to stop wars in foreign countries but he is unable to even stop paper leaks in the country,” the party added.

Detailing the reason behind inflation of marks, the NTA said it received representations raising concerns about the loss of time during conduct of the examination.

“Such cases and representations were considered by NTA and the normalisation formula, which has been devised and adopted by Supreme Court, vide its Judgment dated 13.06.2018, was implemented to address the loss of time faced by the candidates of NEET (UG) 2024.

“The loss of examination time was ascertained and such candidates were compensated with grace marks. So, there marks can be 718 or 719 also,” it said in a statement.

Asked about the allegations of unclear implementation of grace marks, a senior NTA official told PTI that the question paper was prepared using a new NCERT textbook. However, some students had old NCERT textbooks.

“We received a representation on this issue as well due to which NTA had to assign five marks to all students who had marked one of the two options. Because of this reason, marks of a total of 44 students increased from 715 to 720, which resulted in an increased number of toppers,” the official said.

After several court cases and representations raising concerns over loss of time during exam were received, a committee was formed to look into the matter, the official said, adding that the committee went through everything and the loss of time was ascertained.

“Such candidates were compensated with grace marks. Therefore, the marks of students at some centres are high because it is likely they all benefitted from grace marks,” the official added.

According to experts, the mark inflation in NEET UG 2024 result is expected to make securing a spot in medical school this year more difficult. Some aspiring students have turned to online platforms to demand the cancellation of the results and a re-examination.

“Several students are raising some valid points. How come students with same sequence roll number scored the same marks. This is a serious issue.

“We don’t want such doctors to serve our country. This must be investigated,” said Anubha Shrivastava, a lawyer and president of India Wide Parents Association.

An aspirant took to X and said, “67 students scoring 720 out of 720 marks in the results released after the NEET exam paper leak raises suspicion. This is playing with the future of lakhs of candidates of the country, due to which there is anger among the students. The government should conduct a high-level investigation”.

Another X user Nitish Rajput said NTA awarded grace marks according to the court order but the students argue this sudden decision is unjust as the agency has not mentioned any methodology to award these ‘grace marks’.

“Calls for transparency in the process have only grown louder. The controversy for the NTA is brewing as lakhs of students demand re-examination citing lack of clarity in NTA’s explanations and have even pushed for the Supreme Court’s intervention. Grace marks given for lost exam time have raised concerns of fairness,” he added.

The entrance exam was conducted on May 5 at 4,750 centres in 571 cities including 14 cities abroad.

The NTA had on May 5 claimed that the distribution of wrong question papers at an exam centre in Rajasthan led to some candidates walking out with the papers. The agency had denied any leak of the question paper.

A day later, the NTA had reiterated that the reports claiming question paper leak in the medical entrance exam NEET-UG are “completely baseless and without any ground”, and every question paper has been accounted for. 

 The results announced by NTA saw 67 students sharing rank one, including six from same examination centre in Haryana.    

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