Government Removes NTA Chief Amid Exam Controversy

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New Appointment at NTA

The Indian government has removed Subodh Kumar Singh from his position as the Director General of the National Testing Agency (NTA). Retired IAS officer Pradeep Singh Kharola has been appointed as his replacement. Mr. Kharola will serve as the NTA chief until a permanent appointment is made.

Reason for Removal

This change comes in the wake of widespread protests and criticism over alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG exam and the cancellation of the UGC-NET exam. The Ministry of Personnel announced the decision on Saturday, amid mounting pressure from both the opposition and affected students.

Formation of a Committee

The government has formed a seven-member committee to suggest ways to improve the NTA’s functioning. The committee is led by Dr K Radhakrishnan, former ISRO chief and current chairperson of the board of governors at IIT Kanpur. Dr Randeep Guleria, former AIIMS director, is also a member.

Upcoming Retest and Postponed Exams

About 1,500 students who received grace marks in the NEET-UG exam will be taking a retest soon. Additionally, the CSIR UGC NET exam, initially scheduled from June 25 to June 27, has been postponed due to logistical issues. The NEET-PG exam, originally set for Sunday, was rescheduled at the last minute on Saturday.

Pressure from Multiple Sources

The repeated allegations of exam paper leaks and the resulting inconvenience to students have put the NTA under scrutiny. The Supreme Court’s adverse remarks and pressure from the opposition have also influenced the government’s decision to replace Mr. Singh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a recent Cabinet meeting, directed Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to take action.

Commitment to Overhaul NTA

Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has promised a comprehensive overhaul of the NTA. He emphasized the importance of transparent, tamper-free, and error-free examinations. The new committee is the first step in a series of measures aimed at improving the examination process, preventing malpractices, and enhancing data security.

Government’s Priority

The government’s immediate priority is to investigate the alleged paper leaks and hold those responsible accountable. Ensuring the integrity of exams like NEET and JEE, which are crucial for lakhs of students, is of utmost importance.

Statement from the Education Minister

Minister Dharmendra Pradhan assured that student interests and their futures are the government’s top priority. He highlighted the government’s commitment to making examinations transparent and secure, with ongoing reforms to strengthen the NTA.

This series of changes aims to restore confidence in the NTA and ensure fair and secure examination processes for all students.

-Prisha Jaiswal

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