The great Indian rat race

There’s intense competition in entrance exams like the IIT-JEE and NEET, and those of the UPSC and SSC. We crunch the numbers to find out what’s in store for India’s youth.

On 17 July, India conducted the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, or NEET, for aspiring medical students. The competition was intense: Over 17.5 lakh students battled it out for a little under 90,000 seats. The selection rate would be around 5%, among the lowest in a decade.

At his home in Forbesganj, Bihar, Saurav keeps away from all chatter around the exam. “It’s a chapter from my past,” he says. “I don’t want to go back to it.”

Saurav had attempted NEET four times between 2016 and 2019. In 2015, the year he’d started prepping, the number of NEET candidates …


Omkar Khandekar

Omkar specializes in long-form narrative features and has reported from India, the UK, Germany and the Maldives. He writes across beats, from politics and crime to cinema and sports. His works have been published in Indian and international outlets including The Caravan, Mint Lounge, the BBC, Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post.

Senior Features Writer