A patient dies at the OT table. The doctors did what they could do. The head surgeon was good to follow the rules by the book while he carried out the surgery. He has no regrets. He did a good job. Other doctors agree. The operation was done "by the book". But… the patients is dead. And the relatives are furious. They want an answer from the doctors.. They hate the doctors. But it doesn't matter… The doctor is right in his place. And the relatives are in theirs.. But the patient is dead.
Such is the case of NEET.. The lawyers, judges and the whole legal system did a good job. They did what they could do best.. Dramatic arguments. Flowery, nonsensical jargon. "Inevitable" delays. The judgement was long, but, sound and constitutional. Its just that the NEET was the patient, and we are the relatives..
I scurried through the long tedious judgement given by the "Honourable" judges.. All I could make out were as follows:
Religious and minorities are allowed to do whatever they want according to some Article 30. Take their own exams, choose their own students, according to their principles.. And when the question was asked, "To what extent can professional education be treated as a matter coming under minorities rights under Article 30", respected Mr. Salve replied, "… a minority institution may have its own procedure and method of admission as well as selection of students, but such a procedure would have to be fair and transparent and the selection of students in professional and higher educational colleges should be on the basis of merit. The procedure selected for admission by the minority institution ought not to ignore the merit of students for admission while exercising the right to admit students by the colleges aforesaid, as in that event, the institution will fail to achieve excellence. The said procedure should not amount to maladministration." [point 25]
I found that line quite interesting (the one that I have highlighted in bold). It seemed to me that these judges and lawyers were immune to what was happening outside the Supreme Court..
One more thing I noticed, although it might not be relevant to this, that most of the articles were cited from the constitution were amended or made aeons ago.. 1956, 1964, 1976.. I saw one 1998-2000, but that was about the introduction of NEET, and well, it is dead now.. Somehow makes me feel archaic.
Another point that caught my eye was Mr. Parasaran's statement saying, "the hard reality that emerges is that private educational institutions are a necessity in the present-day circumstances. It is not possible today without them because the Governments are in no position to meet the demand, particularly in the sectors of medical and technical education, which call for substantial investments and expenses. Mr. Parasaran submitted that the impugned Regulations were not in the national interest and would only discourage good private institutions being established by people dedicated to the cause of providing health care to all sections of the citizens of this country and, in particular, the marginalized sections in the metropolitan and rural areas."[point 56]
Again, I highlighted the points that interested me. Think of it, and you know how pathetic it is. It's inevitable that private companies work on profit, and high fees. Since Government has failed to fund the most important part of a country, it's health system.. I have watched respected Dr. Gulati express his concerns on the issue of privatization of healthcare as a primary cause of all the corruption ever since his appearance on Satyamev Jayate, a show that was hosted by Mr. Aamir Khan. But, I don't see anybody paying much heed to that..
Relevant to this I would also like to quote an article titled "Amartya Sen: India's dirty fighter". In it was written the following lines, ".. [Sen and Drèze] argue that India's overriding preoccupation with economic growth makes no sense without recognising that human development depends on how that wealth is used and distributed. What's the purpose of a development model that produces luxury shopping malls rather than sanitation systems that ensure millions of healthy lives, ask Drèze and Sen, accusing India of "unaimed opulence". India is caught in the absurd paradox of people having mobile phones but no toilets."
I tried to look for the Financial aspect of the Healthcare and I was amazed to find the data (which I have put in my post "Health in India". And I am sure that anybody would be shocked to look at the data. Just 1% of GDP invested by Government on health..
And then again, I was also wondering if Mr. Parasaran was talking about theseprivate medical colleges, when he talked about discouraging "good private institutions"..
Inflation and corruption are inherent to a Monetary Based Economy, thus the whole fight seems pointless when seen from that vantage point. To most of us NEET had a promise of something good, but it now has been destroyed under the religious and minority humbug. But that's fine by me. I mean, even they have their freedom, according to Article 30, or whatever. And using that as a cover, the corrupt private colleges will continue to do all the "business" they have been doing for so long.. And that would of course mean less of students getting selected by merit.. And one may ask, "how is that fair??!!" And the eloquent answer would be, "who said life would be fair!"
And there's this another argument that MCI is not the proper body to be conducting the exam, because the only things that an MCI can do…..well, are things that it doesn't do properly anyway, so of course carrying out one unified exam would be asking too much of it. MCI has had a past, with all those private colleges scams, director arrested, etc... So now when MCI wants to do something good, they are not being allowed to. So who is going to conduct the exam? That question stays unanswered..
I agree to one thing though. One cannot remove a faulty system and install another faulty system instead.. NEET may have been a good concept, but the pattern of the exam and the selection process was not proper.. Although people may argue that even CAT and USMLE exams are taken in such a way, but it must be noted that USMLE has 3 steps and CAT has the interviews.. Even these guys don't solely depend on just the exam. So, NEET is just a half copied, incomplete pattern, for a proper merit based exam, per se..
And there's another set of arguments that exams on different days may cause a different in markings and thus inappropriate rankings.. Tougher questions on a day may lead to a worse rank and easier on others may lead to better ranks.. This, I think, is a myth. Even USMLE, CAT, Manipal, and many others follow this pattern of online exam.. The Scaling is a bit complicated than one might usually think. Of course, considering the weakness in Mathematics (for most who had opted for bio), statistics could be bothering.. But a look at how CAT does the scoring, perhaps, may give one an idea at the complexity. I remember some even went out to do a survey with the DNB results to find out a co-relation, and never came out with any positive result.. Even I have been a bit sceptic about this method, but Mathematics, I know, is a strong tool, and can prevent any bias by proper use of statistics.. As they say, you are always afraid of what is unknown or incomprehensible to you. I have my faith with mathematics, and I happily let go off the paranoia now. But, like said before, the exam alone shouldn't be the deciding factor.
Another argument is what if we miss the day of the exam, there's no other exam if that exam is missed due to unavoidable circumstances.. Well, I guess the answer to that would be a provision to take the exam on another day, provided valid reasons are put, etc.. But then again these are methods of correcting the NEET system.. These arguments, which SHOULD have been a part of the case, were not. Because the case was about religious and minorities fighting for their freedom and saying how India secularism, unlike American secularism is a "bowl of salad and not a melting pot".
Of course there's a set of questions I'd like to ask..
Court in 2010 had announced that NEET will take place around 2011. But then AIIMS said they won't be able to conduct the test, it was postponed to 2012. Where were these private and minority institutes then? Why hadn't they put their case then and there? Why wait till the completion of the exam in Nov 2012!!?? And if they had made the case in early 2012, why had the case been transferred and delayed till December 2012? What were they waiting for? Why harass the students? What was the actual motive behind all this hullabaloo? Economic growth, was it? Empty Swiss accounts probably?
As a medical student, all I want is a fair exam and admission to an institution, private or government, for my higher education. And most would agree with me here. Even if the old system prevails of AIPGMEE and state exams, and each of them had a transparent process of examination and admission, no one would have any problem whatsoever. Its this deficiency of a transparent system at the state and private exam level that has caused this uproar from our side at least, that's what I believe. It's true that India faces a shortage of doctors, but how does one solve that issue? Such cases and harassment just make medical students like us wish we just get out of this country, furthermore adding to the deficit. And the quality of medical education just goes down day by day, making us inefficient doctors..
Nonetheless, hoping for a better future.
Peace and out.