Chennai: The Central government is prepared to consider an exemption of one year from the NEET system for students of government colleges in Tamil Nadu if the state brings forward an ordinance, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Sunday.

"If the Tamil Nadu government brings forward an ordinance seeking exemption for students of government colleges only just for a year, the Centre is prepared to consider it," she told the media in nearby Tambaram.

Sitharaman was commenting on the raging controversy in Tamil Nadu where political parties are unanimous in opposing the NEET examination on the ground that students from rural areas would be deprived of medical education because students from elite institutions and families would enjoy an advantage under the new system.

The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test or NEET-UG is an entrance examination in India, for students who wish to study any graduate medical course (MBBS/dental course (BDS) or postgraduate course (MD/MS) in government or private medical colleges in India. However, many colleges and institutes had taken a stay order and conducted private examinations for admission to their MBBS and BDS courses. Last NEET entrance exam (2017) was held on May 7 and results were declared on May 23.

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Sitharaman said the exemption would be considered for students of government colleges only in the interest of rural students as admissions in private colleges were already over.

Reacting to Sitaraman's statement, Tamil Nadu Health Minister C. Vijayabhaskar said the proposed ordinance would be handed over to the Central government on Monday morning by the state Health Secretary, who has left for Delhi in the evening as time was running out.

Opposition parties including DMK Working President M.K. Stalin and TNCC President V. Thirunavukkarasar said the one-year exemption offer was an "eyewash" and wanted a permanent exemption from NEET for Tamil Nadu students.