How will the rot in the NTA affect the youth of the country?

By Saibal Debbarma

June 20, 2024

Amid the recent row on the undergraduate medical entrance examination NEET-UG 2024 (National Eligibility and Entrance Test) conducted by NTA (National Testing Agency) over alleged irregularities, the Ministry of Education has decided to cancel the UGC-NET (National Eligibility Test) suspecting foul play. The matter has been now handed over to the CBI.

The UGC has been reportedly informed by the National Cyber Crime Threat Analysis of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (14C) under the Ministry of Home Affairs on the Examination, indicating prima facie that the integrity of the UGC-NET examination has been compromised.

What does this mean for the millions of hopeful youths waiting for the exam staking their time and effort to gain a respectable job in the academics? 11 Lakh students have registered for the UGC-NET exam this year. This sudden cancellation of the UGC-NET Examination has not only stalled the hopes and careers of these students but also put them in anxiety and fear over the authenticity and validity of the exam. What if they face the same injustice as the NEET UG-2024 students?

Justice Vikram Nath of the Supreme Court of India has advised the NTA to take responsibility and practice accountability regarding serious allegations pertaining to irregularities in NEET-UG 2024. Irregularities involving paper leak, unprecedented inflation of rank, unjustified rewarding of grace marks, involvement of higher officials of the exam centres allegedly helping students and impersonation of candidates, post-date blank cheques, huge amount of money paid to people supervising the exam centre, has been pointed out in the past two weeks after the announcement of the results on June 4. These breaches of the integrity of the exam have sown the seed of distrust and contempt against the State machinery in the minds of the youth. Now, instead of taking measures to restore the trust of the youth in the system the NTA has proved that dal me kuch kala nahi, puri dal hi kaali he by cancelling the UGC-NET exam. There is certainly a rot in the NTA (National testing Agency) which needs immediate cleansing. Since, the NTA decides the eligibility of vast number of students over a spectrum of various disciplines and careers, they should begin by measuring their own eligibility for deciding the future of others.

These issues of integrity in the conduct of the National Level exams will also welcome notorious minds to practice their nefarious arts to get by easily through the world of competitive examinations. Then we will have a host of academicians and doctors and engineers who will have passed from a deleterious system that fails honest effort and rewards foul play.  

These exams are also a way for students belonging from subaltern backgrounds to prove their worth and achieve their dreams. But if question papers begin to be sold in the black market to the highest bidders, then, surely a huge section of the marginalised will remain downtrodden and the privileged will stay on their high-horse of entitlement and money-can-buy-anything attitude. National Exams ought to put all sections of the society unbiased on the basis of caste, creed, sex or gender, in a level playing field where they will be given an equal opportunity for achieving their dreams.

But the system has failed today’s youth and it will in turn give birth to bitter resentment against the State machinery in their hearts. The age-old Hindu values of Nyaya (Justice), Satya (Truth), and Dharma (Righteousness) has collapsed in the recent breaches to the integrity of the NTA conducted exams. Also, there is a growing sense of apprehension whether students turned desperate by repeated failed efforts will take deviant paths to fulfil their wishes or commit self-harm. It remains to be seen how the State machinery works to restore the faith of the students in the immediate future and heal the trauma of injustice they have inflicted on the young minds.

Saibal Debbarma, is an Assistant Professor of English, at Govt. Degree College, Gandacherra. He writes on a wide range of topics including art, culture, literature and pedagogy. He can be contacted through email –

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