Friday, June 14, 2024

“NTA playing with our future”: Students suspect scam over irregularities in 2024 NEET results

On June 04, 2024, when the whole country was waiting for the results of the Lok Sabha elections 2024, NTA surprised everyone by releasing the NEET UG 2024 result. 

While the NEET 2024 UG result was to be released on June 14, as declared earlier, the National Testing Agency suddenly released the result on the evening of June 04 without any prior notice. 

Irregularities in the results 

The most surprising thing about the result is that 67 students have secured All India Rank (AIR) 1 with a percentile score of 99.997129. This has happened for the first time in the history of NEET. 

In 2023, two students got 720/720 marks. In the year 2022, not a single student could acquire full marks, whereas in the year 2021, three students were able to get 720/720 marks. 

The second biggest problem is that many students have scored 718 or 719 marks which is technically impossible. According to the NEET marking scheme, a candidate is awarded 4 marks for every right answer and 1 mark is deducted for every wrong answer. 

Therefore, out of 720, the candidates can only secure 716 marks if they leave one answer unattempted. Similarly, 715 marks can be scored if a single answer goes wrong. 

Regarding this confusion, NTA has given the clarification that those candidates were awarded grace marks. Though NTA says grace marks are given for late question paper distribution, there was no such official announcement in this case in the official bulletin before the exam.

Multiple toppers from the same centre

In addition, as per the NEET merit list released by NTA, a total of 6 students from the same exam centre have scored 720 marks in the exam, which appears to be a strange coincidence. 

8 candidates with the sequence of roll numbers starting with “2307010″ and the same exam centre received top scores in the exam, out of which, 6 students secured rank 1. The remaining two students got 68th and 69th rank.

Moreover, the cut-off of this year’s examination has seen a drastic increase to 720-164, whereas last year’s cut-off was 720-137.

Given the circumstances, people suspect that a question paper leak or a results scam could have happened.

During the NEET exam in May, there were reports of question paper-leak from many places. In Patna, the police had arrested 13 people in connection with the allegation of paper-leak in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) held on 5 May.

Students and teachers respond to the row

Maktoob tried to reach out to several students who were adversely affected by the inconsistencies in the results. 

23-year-old Anu, who lives in Lakhisarai, Bihar, got emotional as she said, “I used to study for 18 hours per day for the NEET exam. My exam went quite well and I was very happy. But the paper leak and the errors in the results ruined everything. I got 650 marks in NEET but still, my rank is 29927. Last year, the ranks of those who scored 650 marks were between 7000 and 8000. I don’t know what to do, I have worked really hard.” 

Kailash Soni, a resident of Barmer district in Rajasthan, has been preparing for NEET by staying in Kota for the last three years. 

He told Maktoob, “This time it was my third attempt for NEET. My score was not good in the last two attempts but after taking the exam this time, I was confident about my performance that now I would get admission to a good medical college. But when the results were out, I saw that despite getting 651 marks, I got 28934th rank. I am under severe stress as it is very difficult to get a good college with this rank. My family’s financial condition is so weak that they cannot afford to let me stay in Kota for another year to prepare for the exams. NTA is neither issuing any statement about the allegations on the question paper leak nor is it clarifying on what basis the bonus marks were given to the students. In this way, NTA is playing with the future of the students.”

We talked to many other students who are currently preparing for NEET.

Sunil, a resident of Sanchore district in Rajasthan, raising questions on the functioning of NTA, said, “How can 67 students score 720/720 marks together? And out of them, 8 students appeared for the exam at the same centre and 6 students were from the same state, Haryana, this cannot be just a coincidence.”

“I have also been attending NEET coaching in Kota for three years. I used to get very good marks in every test paper but this time the NEET paper was quite difficult. Along with me, many other students also had less time to solve the Physics questions. Last year, with 547 marks, my rank was near 66,000, but this time even with 632 marks, my rank went below 46,000. There must have been a big scam. This entire matter should be investigated impartially and the NTA should conduct the exam again,” he added.

Lokesh, a teacher at a private coaching institute in Delhi that prepares students for NEET, said, “There has been a huge rank inflation this year compared to last year. Last year, the rank for 574 marks was 46,000, whereas this time it is 110,000. This is completely unacceptable to everyone. This year’s NEET paper is said to be slightly tougher than last year. So, the rank could have increased by a maximum of 10,000 to 20,000, but here it has increased by three to four times more than that.”

He said that the errors in the results point towards malpractices such as paper leaks or cheating in the exam. 

“The sudden release of NEET results on the day of election results also raises many doubts,” he added.

Not getting good results in the NEET exam is leading to mental stress among students. After the announcement of NEET results, cases of suicide of two students have come to light from Rajasthan alone. 

A student from Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh committed suicide by jumping from a building in Kota, and a student from Dausa district committed suicide by jumping in front of a train for not getting good marks in the NEET exam.

The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Undergraduate (NEET-UG) examination is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for admissions to MBBS, BDS and AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country. 

This time the National Testing Agency (NTA) conducted this exam on 5 May. Around 24 lakh candidates appeared in the exam. 

Saumya Raj is an independent journalist who writes grassroots stories.


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