Aadhaar woes hit NEET aspirants

Prajakta Joshi
Monday, 6 May 2019

“This is my second attempt for NEET examination. When I appeared in the examination last year, I showed them the same black-and-white print-out that I had today." Omkar Devale said.

PUNE: While Aadhaar is supposed to be used as one of the important photo identity proofs in India, the delay in its dispatch and the apathy of the administrators to look beyond rules have caused a Pune boy to lose out on his one whole academic year.

A young candidate from an economically backward family could not answer the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for medical courses on Sunday, as he did not possess the original copy of his Aadhaar card.

“This is my second attempt for NEET examination. When I appeared in the examination last year, I showed them the same black-and-white print-out that I had today. Even though I had applied and have got my Aadhaar number, my card has not been delivered to me till date. Still, without any fault of mine, I was barred from giving the examination,” Omkar Devale said.

While he had reached the examination centre two hours prior to the time of examination, the query regarding his ID proof was raised at around 1 pm, while the examinees were supposed to enter the examination hall by 1:30 pm.

“The moment they told us that they will either need a laminated card or a coloured copy, we rushed to a nearby cyber cafe. There were around 8-10 more students like my son. However, some of us could not retrieve new copies of Aadhaar card as the registered mobile number was no longer in service and we could not get the OTP for access,” Devale’s father Rajendra said.

He said that remembering everything from last year’s attempt and reading all the instructions on the admit card, they had followed each and every rule strictly, including that of the dress code and other documents. 

“He does not have any other ID proof. He is not 18 yet, so there is no voter ID or driving license. He does not have a PAN card or bank account. We did all that we could, yet failed in front of this system,” Rajendra added.

He further said, “My son had appeared for the second time, as he had not studied well the last time. This time, he had put in all his energy and effort into scoring well. He had received coaching from Professor Kunal Sinha of Shiksha Plus almost free of cost. We cannot ask him for that help, again and again, every year. At the same time, we cannot afford to get our son into the medical course by paying donations.”

While Devale is a delivery person, he has been working odd jobs to support his family. “It is a huge injustice. When we realised that it is impossible to get a coloured copy of my ID proof, I did not waste a single minute and requested to talk to the head of the centre. But they paid no heed to us. If at all I could speak with some authorities, I might have been able to convince them and save my year. After all, I did have my Aadhaar number and barcode that they could have checked easily,” Omkar said.

“He has been a very hardworking student,” said Sinha speaking about the boy. “It was not fair to waste his whole academic year just over the issue of Aadhaar card without any fault of his,” Sinha added.

SYSTEM HURDLES
- A young candidate from an economically backward family could not answer the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for medical courses on Sunday, as he did not possess the original copy of his Aadhaar card.
- “The moment they told us that they will either need a laminated card or a coloured copy, we rushed to a nearby cyber cafe. However, some of us could not retrieve new copies of Aadhaar card as the registered number was no longer in service and we could not get the OTP for access,” Devale’s father Rajendra said.

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