National Testing Agency, at centre of NEET row, registered as private society

The NTA, responsible for conducting crucial examinations such as the JEE, NEET, UGC-NET, CMAT, is registered as a society under the Societies Registration Act.
National Testing Agency, at centre of NEET row, registered as private society

The controversies surrounding the conduct of the NEET-UG examination and the cancellation of the National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET) has put the government-controlled National Testing Agency (NTA) in the spotlight.

While the government has sacked the NTA chief and constituted a high-level committee to suggest reforms, protests by students against the testing body have erupted across the nation.

Among the concerns raised by experts is the fact that the NTA, responsible for conducting crucial examinations such as the JEE, NEET, UGC-NET, CMAT is registered as a society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.

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National Testing Agency, at centre of NEET row, registered as private society

The body was set up in 2017 as an autonomous and self-sustained testing organisation under the Education Ministry.

The NTA is led by a governing body and does not have a general body.

It is not governed by a parliamentary Act and is also not subject to the rules that govern the conduct of government employees. However, the NTA comes under the purview of the Right to Information Act (RTI).

Before the NTA was formed, government bodies such as the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), and central universities such as Delhi University and JNU conducted their own exams.

Until 2018, the UGC-NET and the NEET exam were conducted by the CBSE, which was set up as a national board of education controlled and managed by the Union Government.

The UPSC, which conducts the civil service exams, was established through the Government of India Act, 1935.

Since the NTA took over in 2018, at least 12 examinations conducted by the agency have been marred by allegations of irregularities and misconduct.

However, in 2024, several of its lapses have come to light. Paper leaks in Bihar and Gujarat and arbitrary grace marks in the NEET-UG medical exam have spurred nationwide protests.

The NTA also called off its UGC-NET examination citing information that the integrity of its exam was compromised. Days later, it also postponed the NEET-PG exam.

Source: India Today

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