Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal has permitted holding of JEE and NEET exams in the city, despite objections raised by the Delhi government citing student safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic, sources said on Saturday.
A proposal for holding JEE and NEET exams in Delhi was put forth in the last meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), which was attended by the L-G and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, they said.
"The Delhi government in its file sent to the L-G by the revenue minister on Saturday recommended not to hold the exams in view of safety of students. "The Delhi chief minister (Arvind Kejriwal) had also decided against holding JEE and NEET because of the pandemic. However, the L-G returned the file upturning the chief minister's decision and permitting holding of the exams," the sources in the Delhi government said.
Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia who is also education minister of the city government, had earlier this week, written to Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, requesting him to postpone the exams given the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country. He had demanded that the medical and engineering entrance exams be postponed and the Centre work on alternative methods for selecting students.
"They (Centre) are saying protocols will be followed. By following the same protocols, that the Centre wants 28 lakh students to follow, lakhs of Indians have tested positive for COVID-19," Sisodia had said.
The Joint Entrance Examination (Main) and the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET-UG) will be conducted in September as scheduled, Ministry of Education officials have maintained.
Last week, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea seeking postponement of the two exams amid a spurt in the number of COVID-19 cases, saying a "precious" academic year of students "cannot be wasted" and that life has to go on.
While a total of 8.58 lakh candidates have registered for the JEE-Mains, 15.97 lakh students have registered for the NEET. Increasing the number of examination centres, alternative seating plan, fewer candidates per room and staggered entry and exit are among the steps the National Testing Agency will take for safely conducting the NEET and JEE in September.