New Delhi: With the Modi government facing flak over its decision to go ahead with the JEE and NEET exams, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has decided to pitch in and help students appearing for them.
According to sources associated with the RSS, though the Sangh has not launched an official campaign, its local units have been activated and are keeping an eye on the current situation. The RSS, a senior functionary said, has directed its state and district units to take care of lodging, transport and even distribute food packets to the students.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) will conduct JEE Main 2020 between 1 September and 6 September while the National Entrance Cum Eligibility Test (NEET) is scheduled to be held on 13 September.
“Our local units have been keeping an eye on the current situation. In several areas due to flooding, students are finding it difficult to travel. Our local units are helping them,” said the senior RSS functionary. “Several students had gone back to their villages or towns due to the lockdown; we are helping them too. At the same time, if there are issues related to lack of funds, our units are even taking care of that.”
Most of the local units that are carrying out this work are in flood-affected areas of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat among others.
Amid safety concerns due to the coronavirus pandemic and due to floods in several parts of the country, many students have been demanding postponement of the NEET and JEE examinations.
Several opposition parties including the Congress, Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party (SP) among others have opposed the holding of the exams, accusing the Modi government of putting students at risk amidst the pandemic. Several student bodies including the All India Students’ Association (AISA) and the Congress-affiliated National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) have demanded the postponement of the two exams.
BJP-ruled states get exam-ready with elaborate plans
The BJP-ruled states have been asked to come with elaborate plans to ensure students don’t face any problems with accommodation and transport.
“The government has faced a lot of criticism over the move and all the BJP-ruled states have been told to be on their toes and ensure the exam goes smoothly. All the CMs will be reviewing their preparation today,” said a senior BJP leader.
On Sunday, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced that the government will arrange free transport for candidates appearing for JEE and NEET examinations. “Government of Madhya Pradesh is arranging free-of-cost transport facility for students appearing for JEE/NEET exams. Arrangements will be done from block HQ (headquarters) and district HQ of exam centres. Examinees can call at 181 or can apply by clicking on http://mapit.gov.in/covid-19 from August 31,” he tweeted.
JEE/NEET 2020 की परीक्षा में सम्मिलित होने वाले मेरे प्यारे बच्चों ब्लॉक/जिला मुख्यालय से परीक्षा केंद्र तक जाने की मैंने नि:शुल्क परिवहन की व्यवस्था की है।
इस सुविधा का लाभ आप 31 अगस्त से 181 पर संपर्क कर या https/mapit.gov.in/covid-19 पर रजिस्टर कर प्राप्त कर सकते हो।
— Shivraj Singh Chouhan (@ChouhanShivraj) August 30, 2020
The students’ wing of the RSS, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), has also been asked to step up its activities and ensure students don’t face any problems. ABVP has already launched a nationwide students’ helpline for NEET, JEE and university examinations.
“We will ensure that students are able to reach the centres on time without any problem. At the same time we are also keeping food packets ready in case there is a need,” said Rahul Chaudhary, national media convenor of ABVP, adding that they will try to arrange for accommodation and food through helpline numbers.
Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal has held meetings with several BJP-ruled states including Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand, Tripura, Manipur, Gujarat, to review the preparations. Pokhriyal has also appealed to the chief ministers of all states to look after the welfare of the students and ensure they don’t face any problem Tuesday.