Education ministry sets up panel to review grace marks to over 1,500 NEET-UG candidates

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New Delhi, Jun 8 (PTI) The education ministry has set up a four-member panel to review the grace marks awarded to more than 1,500 candidates in the NEET-UG medical entrance exam, the National Testing Agency (NTA) announced on Saturday.

The move comes amid allegations of inflation of marks leading to 67 candidates sharing first rank in the exam.

There have been calls from several quarters for a re-exam alleging that the grace marks awarded to make up for the loss of time at six exam centres have led to the inflation of marks and tampered with the chances of other candidates.

These centres are from Meghalaya, Bahadurgarh in Haryana, Dantewada and Balodh in Chhattisgarh, Surat in Gujarat and Chandigarh.

The result of the medical entrance exam was announced on June 4. A record more than 24 lakh candidates had appeared for the exam this year.

"A high-powered committee has been set up to review the results of over 1,500 candidates. The four-member panel headed by a former UPSC chairman will submit its recommendations within a week and the results of these candidates might be revised," NTA Director General Subodh Kumar Singh said at a press conference here.

"The awarding of grace marks has not impacted the qualifying criteria of the exam and the review of results of the affected candidates will not impact the admission process," he added.

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 were some of the reasons behind the students scoring higher marks.

Asked about whether the exam will be re-conducted for certain students, the NTA DG said, it will be decided depending upon the committee's recommendations.

“The idea is to ensure that students who lost time or other students are not at any disadvantage,” he said.

Singh denied any paper leak and irregularities in the exam and reiterated that the integrity of the crucial test had been compromised.

The Congress in Kerala alleged that results have raised concerns about the authenticity of the national exam for medical courses, with many students casting doubt on the procedure.

The Maharashtra government has sought immediate cancellation of last month's NEET exam, alleging that its results have caused injustice to the students from the state. PTI GJS RHL