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This article has been written by kush Kalra.

The National Eligibility Test (NET)  also known as UGC NET or NTA-UGC-NET, is a test to determine eligibility for college and university level lectureship and for the award of Junior Research Fellowship JRF (Hereinafter referred as ‘JRF’) for Indian nationals.

The UGC is a body constituted by virtue of the provisions contained in the University Grants Commission Act for co-ordination and determination of the standards in institutions for Higher Education. In exercise of the powers conferred under the said statute, the UGC issued Regulations on minimum qualifications for appointment of teachers and other academic staff in Universities and Colleges. As per Regulations, only candidates who qualify the National Eligibility Test are eligible for appointment as Assistant Professor in Universities and Colleges.

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The University Grants Commission (Hereinafter referred as ‘UGC’) policy of declaring only 6% of those candidates who appear in both the papers of UGC National Eligibility Test (Hereinafter referred as ‘NET’) exam and obtain minimum qualifying marks in aggregate of both the papers is unconstitutional as it is arbitrary, unreasonable and not satisfying the test of reasonableness under Article 14 of the Constitution. Previously UGC allowed total 15 percent of those candidates who appear in National Eligibility Test exam to be NET qualified. The present criteria of only allowing 6% candidates to be declared as passed in NET exams in all streams is defeating the purpose of UGC- National Eligibility Test Exam which aims at checking the “ELIGIBILITY” only to be a Assistant Professor in India and it is not a Competitive Exam.  By merely clearing this exam, does not ensure a post for Assistant Professor as this exam is just an Eligibility Test and does not result in any Sure Job thereafter, unlike clearing IAS, PCS or Judiciary Exams.  

There is minimum required score prescribed by UGC NET Eligibility exam (40% for general candidates and 35 % for unreserved candidates), but UGC makes a merit list and only 6% of those candidates who appear in both the papers and obtain minimum qualifying marks in aggregate of both the papers are considered as NET qualified, unlike Bar Council of India Exam (All India Bar Exam, (AIBE) which is a eligibility test and open book exam for determining the eligibility of Lawyers to practice in courts in India which prescribes minimum 40% score to clear AIBE as the exam is just a qualifying exam/eligibility test exam and not a competitive exam. All those who score the minimum marks are eligible.All the eligibility exams have a minimum required score to be obtained by the candidate after which he is declared successful, unlike the UGC NET which provides for clearing only 6% candidates appearing for both papers out of the total pool of candidates making it more like a competitive exam than it’s true nature which is “Eligibility EXAM”.  This Exam is conducted twice a year and only 6% candidates are clear in one exam (total 12% candidates are cleared in a year as this UGC –NET exam happens twice a year). Candidates for UGC NET exam have to suffer a lot because of 6% criteria of UGC to clear this eligibility exam and even for one exam (in 6 months) lakhs of candidates appear and UGC may be earning in crores (approximately 6 lakh candidates appeared in UGC NET 2018 and the fees for general category was rs 800 ) which means government is earning in crores in 6 months due to this exam.     

In the light of the only total 6% candidates clearing NET exam conducted by UGC and absence of no minimum required score and preparation of merit list of only 6 % candidates out of total number of candidates presently this exam has become a competitive exam and lost it’s relevance of being a Eligibility test to test the knowledge of candidate in a particular subject. The number of candidates appeared for both papers in UGC NET, 2018 exam is 6,81,930 covering 101 subjects. The exam was conducted 598 centres in 91 cities. Out of 6,81,930 candidates of all streams appeared 44,001 candidates cleared NET Exam and 3883 cleared NET exam with JRF.  JRF is a fellowship program offered by government to assist projects and do Phd simultaneously who clear NET exam with High Merit.  Even the 6% result criteria of UGC –NET exam is not making sense as aspirants who can’t clear UGC-NET JRF Exam, even if they qualify UGC-NET exam appear for UGC-NET JRF exam twice thrice or till the age they can appear as per notification, leading to blocking of seats of candidates who can become bonafide teachers by clearing UGC-NET exam and can fill the long list pendency of teachers in Government and Private colleges and Universities across India.   

Due to just 6% selection of candidates in UGC NET exam in all streams presently there is dearth of sufficient number of candidates for appointment to the post of Assistant Professor in  universities and colleges across India.

The analysis of NET result, December 2018 shows that percentage criteria for becoming assistant professor in different streams for exam of NET is :

45 TO 50 percent : History , Bengali, Marathi, Nepali, Konkani, Santali, Gujarati

51 to 55 percent: Tamil, Telugu, Political Science,  Commerce, Education, Home Science, Management, Odia, Punjabi, English, Manipuri, French, Japanese, physical Education, Indian Culture, Library and Information Science, Mass Communication and Journalism, Museology and Conservation, Tribal and Regional Language Literature, Folk Literature, Sanskrit Traditional subjects, Electronic sciences and environmental sciences, Tourism administration and Management, Bodo, Karnatik Music  (vocal instrument), computer science and application and Rabindra Sangeet

56 to 60 percent: Economics, Psychology, Sociology, Social work, Defence and Strategic studies, Public Administration, hindi , kannada, Malayalam, Sanskrit, Urdu, linguistics, Assamese, Spanish, rajasthani, Labour welfare and personnel management, Dance, archaeology, comparative literature, visual art, geography, social medicine and community, forensic science, pali, kashmiri, percussion instrument and Dogri

61 to 65 percent: Philosophy, Anthropology, Population studies, Hindustani music (vocal instrument), Arabic, Chinese,   Russian, Persian , German, Adult education continuing education, Arab culture and Islamic studies, Law, Buddhist Jaina Gandhian and Peace, Comparative study of religions, Women studies International and area studies, Human rights and duties, Drama Theatre, Yoga and Sindhi

65 TO 70 percent: Maithili

71 to 77 percent: Criminology, Prakrit


The analysis of NET result December exam, 2018 clearly shows that there is different cut off percentage for various streams and applying the same formula of clearing only 6 percent candidates in all streams out of those candidates who appear in both the papers and obtain merit as per result of UGC –NET is not justified for all streams, since different subjects have different cut off marks. Previously 15% candidates out of total candidates were declared successful.  Interestingly the UGC bulletin for NET exam 2018 clearly provides for condition of “Both JRF and Assistant Professor” as only 40% aggregate marks in both the papers taken together for general candidates and 35% aggregate marks in both the papers for reserved candidates to be UGC NET qualified. The UGC presently is making the merit out of total number of candidates appearing even if general candidates are securing 40% marks in both papers and 35 % marks are secured by reserved candidates making it a competitive exam and diluting its real purpose which is to check the eligibility. In any situation by securing the minimum marks (40 percent for general candidates and 35 percent for reserved candidates) one does not get qualified in the NET. In order to qualify the NET, the candidates should come within the 6%  (previously it was 15 % ) of the merit lists prepared on the basis of aggregate marks category wise. Thus by having a policy of clearing only 6 % candidates in all streams in UGC –NET exam in 6 months (exam is held twice a year) when different streams have different cut off marks as mentioned above in analysis of NET  result 2018 a situation has been created by UGC where only 6 percent out of total candidates will clear NET exam irrespective of the stream they belong to and their pass percentage. This has resulted in a fewer number of candidates qualifying as assistant professors in some fields and leading to dearth of teachers in Government and Private colleges and universities across india . The policy of clearing only 6% candidates for NET eligibility test is clearly a policy which needs to be quashed on ground of irrational and arbitrary and not satisfying the test of reasonableness as prescribed under article 14 of the constitution. Further this test is conducted twice a year which makes the same candidates to appear twice for a eligibility exam. The UGC can clear 50 percent of those candidates who appear in both the and obtain minimum qualifying in aggregate of both the papers (40%) to be declared NET qualified, without making a merit for a qualifying/eligibility exam which does not ensure job and after which exam a person has to appear in interviews and crack the interviews and written exam by his skill to become a assistant professor in any university or college across India.      

It is to be noted that the different cut off marks for different prominent competitive exams conducted by Union Public Service Commission is as follows:


Marks secured by last finally recommended candidate

Naval Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination (I), 2018

705 out of 1800

Percent cutoff 39.16

Indian Economic Service Examination

608 out of 1200

Percent cutoff: 50.66

Indian Statistical Examination, 2018

567 out of 1200

Percent cu off: 47.25

Delhi Judicial Service Main Exam, 2018

447 out of 850

Percent cut off: 52.58


  Their is no justification for only allowing 6 % (basis of reaching to this figure, previously it was 15% ) of those candidates who appear in both the papers and obtain minimum qualifying marks in aggregate of both the papers. The UGC makes merit list of candidates and clear only 6% candidates out of all streams without  looking at basis of cut-off marks which are different for different stream as mentioned above. Further the Junior Research Fellowship is given from this 6% result. It is a common trend of this exam that people who clear NET exam try for NET Junior Research Fellowship and being a NET qualified spoil one seat of NET aspirant since UGC have no mechanism to separately allow the NET JRF candidates to compete for NET JRF Fellowship and have no mechanism to check if a NET JRF candidate again clears NET exam out of total pool of 6% candidates which in turn results in candidates clearing NET exam twice, thrice or more just to clear NET JRF exam and in turn spoil the seats of candidates out of 6% total candidates allowed to clear UGC-NET exam, thereby resulting in shortage of competent and eligible faulty in universities and colleges across India. Again it is reiterated that UGC-NET exam is conducted for determining the Eligibility for JRF and Eligibility for Assistant Professor and not a competitive exam in which a person should score a high merit to justify to be appointed as a teacher in India. By allowing only 6% candidates in 6 months, (exam is conducted twice a year) in all streams to clear the UGC –NET exams UGC have made this a competitive exam , instead of  eligibility test and further UGC and ministry of HRD are clueless about how this magic figure of 6%  is being ascertained by them as colleges and Universities in India are facing a crunch of faculties.  

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  1. UGC-NET JRF and CSIR NET JRF both are conducted in such poor and thoughtless manner. Now the test is conducted by NTA – National Testing Agency, which is entrusted with almost all such important eligibility test examinations.
    This NTA in last May 2019 conducted DUET-2019 (Delhi University Entrance Test-2019). When the result came in their website, by installments and after repeated inquiry against obscurity, the Geology Ph.D. result was curious. Instead of Geology there was results/ranks of Hindustani Vocal Music. On my personal complaint and repeated follow up they rectified the mistake. The more, while the eligibility test was for 5 seats of mainly Geochemistry subjects, the NTA Questions were on irrelevant subjects like Oceanography, Hydrology etc. The result is, as I understand, though I may be wrong, none of the students who scored very high based on the DUET-2019 questions, found place in the final select list probably they could not do good before the Interview Board tasked with selection of appropriate candidates for Geochemistry.
    Only 6% haircut formula is strongly objectionable. The NET JRF tests are not Selection Tests for recruitment. Aspirants have to cross many more hurdles for actual admission or recruitment. Even nowadays NET qualification is being demanded for Guest Lecturers also. Then why is this unnecessary, unrealistic and irrational rule?
    UGC and CSIR must declare beforehand the cut-off mars and declare qualified to all those who score the Cut-Off marks declared beforehand.


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