Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday directed State Advocate General Atul Nanda to coordinate with his counterparts in other Opposition ruled states for filing a collective review petition in the Supreme Court seeking deferment of NEET, JEE exams.
According to a press statement, "The directive followed a Video Conference of the meeting convened by Congress President Sonia Gandhi with the chief ministers of seven Opposition-ruled states to discuss this and other issues of common concern, including delay in GST compensation release and the farm Ordinances by the Government of India, as well as the New Education Policy, which Captain Amarinder said was thrust on the states without consultation." There was no time to seek time from the Prime Minister to discuss the issue, said Captain Amarinder in response to a suggestion to this effect. "Let us all get together to move the Supreme Court for postponement of the exams, which are threatening the lives of lakhs of students," he said.
Pointing out that world over, exams were being held online, he suggested that the JEE/NEET and other professional exams like Medical and Law could also be held online and there was no need to put the students at risk.
Noting that what the states were seeking was not the moon but their own dues, the Chief Minister also suggested that a delegation of all the Opposition ruled chief ministers should meet the Prime Minister to press for the release of GST compensation and financial assistance to fight Covid.
"We have given all the powers of taxation to him through the GST, and now they say they may not be able to pay. So how do we run our states?," he said, calling upon the Opposition-ruled states to work together and fight together for their rights.
According to the press statement, The Chief Minister also disclosed that his government would be setting up a committee soon to assess the impact of the New Education Policy on the state's education system and finances. Every state has its own system, which the Government of India failed to take into account before announcing the policy, he said.
Pointing out that as of today, two days before the scheduled Punjab Vidhan Sabha session, 23 Ministers/MLAs were COVID-19 positive, Captain Amarinder said if this was the state of the legislators and ministers, one can only imagine how grave the situation on the ground was. The scenario was not conducive to holding physical examinations, he said.
The Punjab Chief Minister told the meeting that even on the issue of the mandatory final term exams for colleges/universities, despite repeated pleas and reminders, the University Grants Commission (UGC) had failed to take cognisance of his government's concerns.
Citing the importance laid by his government on education, he said that while in schools his government had already decided to promote the students based on their earlier performance, the final term college exams issue remained a matter of concern. "How can we have exams with COVID-19 projected to peak in the state in September?" he asked, adding that "I also want students to take exams and pass too, but how can I do this in the midst of the crisis?"