Every time Kashmir is trying to stabilize a bit, there is some tension erupting at some level. By and large, governance structure is main contributor of these frequent issues. After the new government took over, it was first NIT and soon the Handwara forced a new crisis. As both the issues are managed to a great extent, the CET issue is the main focus of the concern.
Entry into the professional courses has evolved over the decades. At one point of time, it was just a nomination process that the rulers would do and favour the favourites. Then the process became formal and took its own time and eventually stopped with the setting up of board of professional entrance examinations. Not fool proof, though, the board has gradually started making processes better.
Now, the central government is being directed to take over the entire process and make it an all India process, strictly as is happening in the civil services. The all India test, National Entrance and Eligibility Test (NEET) is not a new process. It has actually started many years back but J&K, many other states, and various privately run colleges and minority institutions were outside its ambit. Candidates from J&K were not debarred from being part of the examination but would not get admissions even after they pass it at the national level. Now Supreme Court has left no exclusions.
While it is clear that even though the test will help create a merit list for the state, the professional trainings institutions appearing in the state will not have any non-local candidate. But that is just not the only tension that J&K, especially Kashmir has.
J&K has most of its activities linked to the constitutional status that it enjoys. Once it is directed to be part of the NEET, it will have to roll back its infrastructure and wind up BOPEE. Once that happens, the NEET will become a public issue and source to another series of tensions.
Apparently, it does not seem that NEET will eventually lead J&K to relive the REC-to-NIT experience, but the subsequent follow up at the national level can create that situation too.
But the bigger problem that could be around is for the student. The candidates appearing for CET within J&K have their own ranking set-up and are apparently happy with that. This is despite the fact that half of the seats in all the professional colleges are going to the reserved categories leaving barely half for the merit. While nothing much can change in the overall numbers, the ranking set up can disturb the younger lot a bit.
On the flip side of it, state will make its own saving as NEET will take over the exercise. It will never be a local scandal if the question papers leak as has happened in the past in J&K.
Even if the situation remains unchanged, J&K joining NEET will make a major political issue in the state, especially Kashmir. It will belittle the political set up that would be accused of failing in protecting the autonomy of the state.