Tamil Nadu: NEET fraud exposes shortcomings, Aadhar-linking can be a solution
The Financial Express
The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for medical education in the country was meant to guard against monied candidates buying up seats while better-qualified candidates are left in the cold. But, thanks to gaps that remain, not much seems to have changed. An exposé by India Today last year showed that colleges were using the mop-up round, where admission is based on screening of applications, to collect capitation. Now, media reports from Tamil Nadu point to a larger scam. A preliminary investigation revealed that students were using impostors to appear for the test. Only six such cases have been discovered for now, but the Madras HC has ordered an enquiry, which may bring more cases to light. The order further states that the scam itself may not be limited to the state.
Madras HC’s observation that Aadhaar verification could help avoid such impersonation is interesting. Biometric verification was mandated for the Common Admission Test (CAT) in 2009 to check against impersonation. The government had made Aadhaar mandatory, hoping to replicate the same for other examinations, but the SC last year ruled against compulsory linking. However, the Madras HC is right, Aadhaar linking, along with a mix of digital solutions,can curb such fraud. Take the case of marksheet forgery. CBSE has already linked marksheets to students’ digital lockers, from where colleges can pull them at request. Also, a CAT-style online examination, where the paper is only available on closed-loop servers and a question-by-question basis, is needed for all examinations. Otherwise, similar cheating cases could crop up.