The Real Scam Behind NEET We Need to Talk About


09:32 AM

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Why in News?

  • While the recent allegations of corruption in the NEET exam have drawn significant attention, if look carefully, the issue is much larger issue.
  • The integrity of NEET and other competitive exams for higher education and prestigious jobs is undeniably crucial.
  • However, as public discourse becomes entangled in investigations, petitions, individual culpability, and political rhetoric, we lose sight of the most pressing issue: an overwhelming number of students competing for a disproportionately small number of seats.

A Broader Analysis of the Real Scam Behind Competitive Exams

  • Systemic Inadequacy Post-Independence
    • Seventy-five years after gaining independence, India has made significant strides in many areas, yet it remains critically deficient in providing sufficient opportunities for its growing youth population.
    • Despite rapid economic growth, the systems in place have not evolved to meet the growing aspirations of millions of young Indians.
    • This is starkly evident in the education sector, where competitive exams such as NEET reveal a gross imbalance between demand and supply.
    • With 24 lakh students competing for just 1 lakh seats, the majority are left disheartened and frustrated.
    • This scenario underscores the broader issue of systemic inadequacy, where the infrastructure and resources available are woefully insufficient to cater to the needs of the population.
  • Misplaced Emphasis on Merit
    • The inadequate supply of opportunities is often masked by a misleading emphasis on merit.
    • This concept, as it is currently employed, serves to obscure the systemic failures by suggesting that those who do not succeed simply lack the necessary merit.
    • In reality, the competition is so intense and the resources so limited that even highly capable individuals are squeezed out.
    • This misplaced emphasis shifts the blame onto the youth, rather than addressing the underlying issue of insufficient opportunities.
    • By framing the problem in terms of individual merit, society conveniently sidesteps the need to expand and improve the infrastructure that supports education and employment.
  • Exploitation of Aspirations: The Narrow Definition of Success
    • Instead of addressing these systemic inadequacies, society has often resorted to exploiting the high aspirations of the youth.
    • By idolising the success stories of a few individuals, society creates an illusion that such success is universally attainable, despite the systemic barriers.
    • This narrative not only misleads the youth but also places undue pressure on them to conform to a narrow definition of success.
    • The glorification of wealth and power as the ultimate goals further compounds the problem, as it limits the scope of success to a few elite individuals who have managed to navigate the system effectively.

The Impact of Inadequate Opportunities and the Consequence of Ignoring Systematic Reforms

  • The Broader Impact Across Sectors
    • The problem of inadequate opportunities extends beyond medical education and it is the same across various sectors, from higher education to employment in both public and private domains.
    • In every field, there is a significant mismatch between the number of aspirants and the available opportunities.
    • This not only limits the potential of the youth but also stifles the country’s overall progress.
    • In the employment sector, for instance, many graduates find themselves underemployed or in jobs that do not match their qualifications, leading to widespread frustration and disillusionment.
  • Impact on National Development
    • The inadequate availability of opportunities has profound implications for the economic and democratic engagement of the youth.
    • Economically, the lack of adequate educational and job opportunities prevents young people from contributing fully to the economy, thereby wasting a valuable demographic dividend.
    • This scenario is particularly troubling for a country like India, which has a significant youth population.
    • The inability to harness the potential of this demographic group not only hinders individual progress but also impedes national development.
  • Economic Disengagement and Discontent
    • The economic disengagement of the youth leads to a host of social and economic issues.
    • When young people cannot find suitable opportunities, their potential remains untapped, leading to increased dependency ratios and a potential rise in socio-economic problems.
    • This disengagement breeds a deep sense of injustice and hopelessness among the youth, who feel their hard work and aspirations are futile in a system that does not accommodate their ambitions.
    • The competitive nature of exams like NEET, coupled with the limited seats, exacerbates this feeling of futility, and can have severe psychological impacts, including anxiety, depression, and even suicidal tendencies.
  • The Consequences of Ignoring Systemic Reforms
    • Ignoring the need for systemic reform has far-reaching consequences.
    • It perpetuates a cycle of inequality and disenfranchisement, where the majority of the youth are left behind.
    • This situation is unsustainable in the long run, as it can lead to increased social unrest and instability.
    • When the aspirations of the youth are systematically thwarted, it creates fertile ground for dissent and discontent, which can manifest in various forms, from protests to increased crime rates.

Ways Ahead to Address the Systemic Inadequacies

  • Political and Institutional Reforms
    • Responsible political leaders must transcend partisan divides to acknowledge the scale of the problem and work collaboratively to devise long-term solutions.
    • This requires a commitment to prioritising the expansion of educational and employment opportunities as a national agenda.
    • Policymakers must design and implement policies that are inclusive, sustainable, and aimed at levelling the playing field.
  • Investment in Education
    • There is an urgent need for a massive infusion of public funds to expand and improve the educational infrastructure.
    • This includes building new schools, colleges, and universities, especially in underserved and rural areas, to ensure that quality education is accessible to all.
    • Also, investing in teacher training programs and recruiting qualified educators is crucial.
    • Enhancing the quality of education starts with well-trained teachers who can inspire and guide students effectively.
    • Moreover, the curriculum should be regularly updated to reflect current industry demands and global trends.
    • It should also emphasise critical thinking, creativity, and practical skills, moving away from rote learning.
  • Societal Attitudes and Redefining Success
    • Addressing societal attitudes and redefining the concept of success are crucial components of a comprehensive solution.
    • The current narrow definition of success, focused on wealth and power, needs to be broadened to include diverse achievements and contributions.
    • Encouraging a culture that values all professions and contributions, not just those associated with high income or prestige, can help reduce the pressure on the youth to pursue a limited set of career paths.
    • And celebrating and recognising achievements in various fields, including arts, sports, social work, and entrepreneurship, can provide role models for the youth and highlight the multiple pathways to success.


  • The need for comprehensive solutions to address the inadequacy of opportunities for India's youth cannot be overstated.
  • By investing in education, creating job opportunities, redefining societal values, and demonstrating strong leadership, India can transform its demographic potential into a powerhouse of inclusive growth and development.

Only through such decisive and sustained efforts can the aspirations of India’s youth be validated, paving the way for a brighter and more equitable future. 

Q) What is the National Testing Agency (NTA)?

The National Testing Agency (NTA) is an autonomous organisation established by the Ministry of Education, Government of India, in 2017. Its primary purpose is to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions in India. The NTA aims to ensure a transparent, efficient, and standardised testing process for various competitive exams, including JEE Main, NEET-UG, UGC-NET, and others.

Q) How does the National Testing Agency ensure the fairness and reliability of its exams?

The National Testing Agency ensures fairness and reliability in its exams through several measures. The NTA employs advanced technology, including computer-based testing, to minimise errors and biases. It follows strict standardised procedures for question paper development, examination conduct, and evaluation. Robust security protocols are in place to prevent malpractices and ensure the integrity of the examination process. And, the NTA provides detailed information about exam patterns, syllabi, and marking schemes, ensuring transparency for all candidates.

Source:The Indian Express