In what appears to be the government's decision to go ahead with the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test and Joint Entrance Examination, sources said that the JEE- for admission to IITs - and NEET - for admission to medical courses - will go ahead as scheduled.
This comes days after the Supreme Court's rejection of a petition by students to defer the exams due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Sources said that there has been a rise of almost 50 per cent in NEET centres this year as compared to last year, and indicated that enough arrangements are in place to hold the competitive examinations, which many people want to be postponed, including BJP's Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy.
Admit cards for the JEE (Main) exam have already been issued by the National Testing Agency (NTA) and around 6.5 lakh students (of the nearly 8.6 lakh who had registered) have downloaded them, the sources added.
Out of the total of 15,97,433 candidates, 99.87 per cent are being given the first choice of their preferred city.
The JEE (Main) exam is scheduled to be held between September 1 and September 6. The NEET exam has been pencilled in for September 13.
What the top court order said
The Supreme Court order said, "We find that there is absolutely no justification in the prayer made for the postponement of the examinations in question relating to NEET UG-2020 as well as JEE (Main), 2020. In our opinion, though there is a pandemic situation, ultimately life has to go on and the career of the students cannot be put in peril for long and a full academic year cannot be wasted."
"Accordingly, the admit cards for the JEE (Main) were released by the National Testing Agency (NTA) and the exam is scheduled from September 1-6. Till date, out of 8,58,273 candidates, 6,49,223 have downloaded their admit cards.
"Out of the total candidates, 99.07 per cent have been given the first choice (centre) of their preference. So far, only 120 candidates have requested for a change in the centre cities allotted to them, which is being looked into sympathetically," said government sources.
Further, in order to facilitate the candidates in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the NTA had provided the JEE (Main) candidates with an option to change their centre cities five times, and as many as 63,931 candidates have availed the same.
A similar option was also given to the NEET (UG) candidates, and about 95,000 of them have availed it.
As per the government sources, elaborate arrangements have been made to sanitise the centres before and after the exams, provide the candidates with fresh masks and (on demand) hand gloves based on the comprehensive guidelines issued in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier on Friday, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy had sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention to direct the Education Ministry to postpone NEET and JEE till Diwali, and even warned of suicides by youth if the tests were not deferred.
In his "urgent letter" to Modi, Swamy said: "Holding the exams, in my opinion, may lead to a large number of suicides by youths around the country."
(With agency inputs)