Amid a massive row over alleged irregularities in the conduct of NEET-UG test and the cancellation of UGC-NET entrance exam, the National Testing Agency (NTA) on Friday postponed the June edition of the Joint Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and University Grants Commission National Eligibility test. The Joint CSIR-UGC-NET is a test conducted to determine eligibility for junior research fellowship and admissions to PhD in science courses.

The Centre on Friday notified a stringent law to end malpractices and irregularities in competitive examinations. The law entails stringent punitive provisions for those involved in these offences, including a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine of up to ₹1 crore.

The Congress took potshots at the BJP-led Central government over the development. “Yet another NTA exam postponed. This time it is the CSIR-UGC-NET. Clearly, NTA has become Narendra’s Trauma Agency for youth,” said senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.

The CSIR-UGC-NET exam is conducted twice a year — June and December — in five subjects, including Chemical Sciences, Earth, Atmospheric, Ocean and Planetary Sciences, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, and Physical Sciences in computer-based format. Its score paves the way for admissions in all premier institutions offering PhD courses in these disciplines, including IITs and Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs). More than 2 lakh students were supposed to take the exam. In December last year, over 1.75 lakh students appeared for the test.

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