According to sources, more than four lakh tickets for the NEET medical entrance exam were downloaded in three hours on Wednesday.
The National Testing Agency (NTA) released the approval cards for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) at 12:00 noon on Wednesday.
“NEET approval cards were available for download today at 12 noon. Over 4 lakh candidates downloaded it in the first 3 hours, ”the sources say.
While the NEET is scheduled for September 13th, the JEE Main technical entrance exam is scheduled for September 1-6. Around 9.53 lakh candidates have signed up for the JEE Mains, and 15.97 lakh students have signed up for NEET.
Amid mounting calls for critical exams to be postponed amid rising Cpvid-19 cases, MoE officials reiterated Tuesday that the September exams are on schedule.
Increasing the number of exam centers, an alternative seating plan, fewer candidates per room, and staggered entry and exit are among the steps the NTA will take to safely conduct NEET and JEE over the next month.
“The number of exam centers has also increased from 570 to 660 (for JEE Main) and from 2,546 to 3,843 (for NEET). While JEE-Mains is a computer-based test, NEET is a pen-and-paper test, “the NTA said in a statement on Tuesday.
“In addition, in the case of JEE-Mains, the number of shifts was increased from 8 to 12 and the number of candidates per shift was reduced from 1.32 lakh to 85,000,” it said.
“In order to ensure adequate social distancing in the examination rooms, the candidates at JEE Mains will sit in alternative seats. In the case of NEET, the number of candidates per room has been reduced from 24 to 12, ”he added.
In order to ensure social distancing outside of the examination room, the entry and exit of the candidates was staggered.
“Adequate arrangements have also been made outside the examination centers so that candidates can stand with reasonable social distance while waiting. Candidates were also given a notice informing them of the “dos and don’s” for proper social distancing, ”the NTA said.
There were calls from several sides to postpone the entrance exams in view of the increasing number of coronaviruses.
On Tuesday, Swedish youth climate change activist Greta Thunberg threw in her weight for postponing exams in the face of the pandemic.
“It is deeply unfair that Indian students are being asked to take national exams during the COVID-19 pandemic and while millions are affected by the extreme flooding. I stand by her call to #PostponeJEE_NEETinCOVID, she said in a tweet.
Several opposition leaders in India, including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi from Congress, Mamata Banerjee, her counterpart in West Bengal, Naveen Patnaik, DMK President MK Stalin and Delhi Deputy Prime Minister Manish Sisodia have called for the exams to be postponed.
The Supreme Court last week denied a request to postpone the two exams as the number of COVID-19 cases rose sharply. He said that a precious student year “cannot be wasted” and that life must go on.
“We find that the prayer for postponing the exam in question with regard to NEET and JEE-Mains contains absolutely no justification,” the Supreme Court said.
The NTA has also written to state governments to expand support for candidates in the local movement so they can get to their exam centers on time