Many states have started counselling for admissions to medical colleges
Srinivas, who wants to become a doctor, is shattered at the possibility of an ordinance that would exempt Tamil Nadu from the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test or NEET for undergraduate medical admissions for yet another year.
He says he worked very hard after the Supreme Court made NEET mandatory this year onward. He scored 97 per cent marks in CBSE Class 12 and 94 percentile in NEET.
Any exemption, he says, would ruin his MBBS dream. "They are playing with our lives. Why couldn't they have told this a year ago? Not after exams are over," says the aspiring doctor.
Another MBBS aspirant J Monish said, "They are punishing us for following the Supreme Court order."
Though a majority of state board students have sought exemption from NEET, a few like Vignesh Balaji say decisions cannot be last-minute and arbitrary. He took a year's break to crack NEET. "It's not that none likes NEET in Tamil Nadu," Mr Balaji says.
For a decade, Tamil Nadu had abolished entrance exams and medical admissions had been offered on the basis of Class 12 marks so that rural students in state board schools don't find themselves at a disadvantage as they can't afford private coaching.
The centre appears to have now softened its stand. On Sunday last, Union Minister Nirmala Sitaraman had said "the centre will cooperate".
And if the government promulgates an ordinance, it will face legal challenges. Nalini Chidambaram, counsel for students who support the NEET, says: "As AIADMK supported BJP's presidential and vice presidential candidates, they are willing to exempt for a year. Earlier they never bothered even after an assembly resolution."
Many states have started counselling for admissions to medical colleges.
The family of 17-year-old Anitha, who killed herself
last week after failing to get admission to a medical college, had rejected the Tamil Nadu government's offer of seven lakh rupees in financial aid.
Anitha was the daughter of a poor, Dalit daily-wage labourer, whose dream was to be a doctor. She scored excellent marks in her Class 12 exams and hoped they would help her get admission to a medical college.