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Haryana's NEET Fiasco: Exam Errors & Grace Marks Controversy Spark Outrage

The trouble began with a double error at two examination centers, and now, despite an impressive score of 641 out of 720, Komal Rani from Jhajjar might not secure a medical college seat in the country. Following controversies over perfect scores, an alleged paper leak, and the awarding of grace marks, she is among thousands […]

The trouble began with a double error at two examination centers, and now, despite an impressive score of 641 out of 720, Komal Rani from Jhajjar might not secure a medical college seat in the country. Following controversies over perfect scores, an alleged paper leak, and the awarding of grace marks, she is among thousands of aspirants who feel cheated.

The National Testing Agency (NTA) conducted the prestigious National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) on May 5. Scoring 31 marks above last year’s cutoff of 610 had initially given Komal a lot of hope, but grace marks awarded to over 1,500 candidates for time lost raised the cutoff even higher this year. She said, “My father, the sole breadwinner of the family, had invested a significant portion of his modest income in my education and coaching. What do I do now?”

NEET candidate Bhawna Dalal recounted her experience at Bahadurgarh’s Hardyal Public School examination center, which produced eight top scorers nationally, a statistically improbable outcome. She said, “The center’s 600-odd candidates received a wrong question-paper set, and when the invigilator at fault took it back after about 25 minutes to issue a fresh one, we had to start all over again. Many students from my center received grace marks for this time loss, but I was among those who didn’t and lost out on extra credit.”

Jaivikash Nandal, whose Jhajjar coaching institute had many students taking the test at Hardyal Public School and SR Century Public School, the two controversial centers in Bahadurgarh, explained, “The NTA had saved the primary set of question papers with the State Bank of India and the backup set with Canara Bank. Only the SBI set should have been distributed, but the two schools issued both sets, creating confusion. After about 25 minutes, they made another mistake by withdrawing the SBI set, which the rest of the candidates nationwide had. Only these two centers had candidates solving the Canara Bank set, which was more difficult.”

When confronted, Hardyal Public School principal Anshu Yadav and director Anuradha Yadav declined to comment, stating they had already provided their versions to the NTA. At SR Century Public School, principal V N Jha, who was also the NTA coordinator on May 5, acknowledged the initial confusion but declined to comment on the time loss and grace marks.

While the toppers have refused to retake NEET, other aspirants are calling for a retest for all candidates, not just those who received grace marks. They argue that it is a matter of trust and the sanctity of the examination, especially after a few arrests related to paper leaks in some states.

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Exam Errors & Grace MarksNEET ControversyTDGThe Daily Guardian