Saturday, July 13, 2024
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NEET has to be reconsidered

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NEET has to be reconsidered
Editor,
With NEET results under the scanner for alleged irregularities and paper leaks our students who passed the NEET exams are in a fix. In the last orientation programme conducted by the Health and Family Welfare Government of Meghalaya it was informed that the state needs to have approximately 300 to 400 seats per year but at present the state has only 50 seats, an approximate 20 – 22 seats for Garos and 20 -22 seats for Khasi & Jaintia aspirants.
I hope the Government tries its best to increase the quota to 200 plus like other states. Some students, especially those from poor family backgrounds, are trying repeatedly to clear the NEET with better scores to get a Government seat. Some take up to 4 attempts (4 years). But my request to students who have passed Class 12 with 85% and above and a NEET score of 35O and above is that they are already smart and fit to become doctors. If they can avail loan or if parents can afford to, please take the private seat also since our State is in dire need of doctors. Our villages face extreme shortage of doctors. I sincerely hope that the marks scored in Class 10 and 12 to be considered and that those conducting the entrance exams do not depend entirely on the NEET scores.
Yours etc.,
Rangki Lyngdoh
Shillong – 3

Heat wave & VIP culture
Editor,
My local State Bank of India branch has a special counter where customers can withdraw or deposit money with ease. There are three counters in total for monetary transactions. But often, only two counters stay open – one general and one special. The queue for the general counter is always much longer than that of the special counter.
Standing at the end of a serpentine queue at the general counter, an old man leaning on his stick asked if the special counter was for physically challenged persons and senior citizens. Immediately, he was enlightened with the information that the special counter was only for the VIPs who would transact a minimum amount of Rs 50 thousand!
There was a heatwave outside, and the old man was visibly not feeling well. But he did not like to beg for a favour. God forbid if something happened to that man while or after returning home, it would be said that another person died of heatstroke. There would be no mention that VIP culture had contributed to it.
Thanks to rising inequality, which as per the recently published report by the World Inequality Lab, has surpassed even during the time of the British Raj, the tentacles of VIP culture are spreading rapidly with each passing day.
As many as 33 polling personnel, including sanitation workers, home guards, and polling officers, died from heatstroke in Uttar Pradesh during the seventh phase of the Lok Sabha election on June 1. Were they VlPs? No, they were not. When it comes to providing basic amenities, even presiding and polling officers are treated like Less Important Persons (LIPs). Sometimes, they have to compromise on issues like dirty toilets and lack of water in their booths.
The deaths of so many polling personnel on a single day raised questions if adequate protective measures like continuous supply of water and ORS, sufficient fans and clean toilets were in place in all the polling booths in Uttar Pradesh.
Ironically, the poor mainly suffer from the heatwave for which they are the least responsible. Ulka Kelkar, a climate change researcher, rightly said, “Those who contribute the least to global warming or greenhouse emissions are the worst sufferers of climate change.”
Nature is egalitarian. Its ponds and fields are the areas where the people can cool off, irrespective of their class. To enjoy swimming during the day time and a cool breeze sitting on a field in the evening can soothe the nerves in hot summer. But the greed for profit in an unscrupulous way and the mindless creation of a concrete jungle under the guise of development and urbanisation are bulldozing the open areas and lungs of the poor who have no or little access to air-conditioned space.
Banks had written off Rs 10.57 lakh crore during the last 5 financial years, of which Rs 5.52 lakh crore was in respect of loans pertaining to large industries as per the government reply in the Parliament in November last year, whereas the 11-year-old girl, Santoshi Kumari starved to death because her parents failed to link their ration cards with their Aadhaar cards. This shows two diametrically opposite ways to treat irregularities of VIPs and LIPs.
These, plus question paper leaks, highway cave-in, airport roof and bridge collapse indicate something seriously wrong. The wrong is to indulge the greed of some VIPs. The wrong is to indulge the inequality and to create a wall between the VIPs and the LIPs. That had literally been done in Ahmedabad to hide the LIPs in the slum area behind the wall during the visit of Donald Trump.
Yours etc.,
Sujit De,
Kolkata

Reformed laws and their impact
Editor,
On July 1, 2024, the nation witnessed the enactment of three novel laws aimed at superseding its outdated colonial-era criminal statutes, marking a significant evolution in its system of criminal justice. The introduction of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) to supplant the existing Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) to replace the archaic Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) to take the place of the Indian Evidence Act (IEA), signifies a landmark restructuring effort within the legal framework of the country.
These legislative measures, which were ratified in the preceding month of December, are designed to revolutionise India’s legal landscape by tackling contemporary challenges such as organised crime and economic violations, underscoring the significance of identity verification and genuineness in the era of technological advancements, and introducing community service as a novel punitive measure.
The primary goal of the BNS is to establish clearer and more stringent sanctions for criminal transgressions, with a potential outcome of bolstering public safety and more efficiently combating hate crimes. On the other hand, the BNSS pledges expeditious dispensation of justice, heightened protection for victims, and streamlined accessibility to legal remedies. Through the enactment of the BSA, the legal system endeavours to simplify and fortify the process of evidence collection, ensure transparency in judicial proceedings, and amplify safeguards for susceptible witnesses and victims.
A noteworthy alteration introduced by these laws is the rescission of several provisions previously instituted to safeguard against abuse and violence during custodial interrogations. It remains paramount to safeguard against any potential overreach or misuse of power by investigative entities during such interrogative processes, as the crucial concern should always be the well-being of both the populace and society at large.
Yours etc.,
Chanmiki Laloo
Shillong – 02

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