The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Class 12 board exams have been postponed and the Class 10 exams have been cancelled, the central government said after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal and other important officials amid the surge in coronavirus cases across the country

The Class 12 board exams were scheduled for May 4 to June 14. The Class 10 exams would be on the basis “of an objective criterion to be developed by the Board”, the government said. The exams were to be conducted in “offline-written mode” the CBSE officials had informed in February when the Covid-19 daily cases had dropped to fewer than 15,000.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra have all urged the central government to cancel the exams and prevent millions of students from being exposed to the infection.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said that the board exams should be cancelled in view of the rising cases. He said, “Six lakh students in the city will appear for board exams. 1 lakh teachers will be on duty. Conducting board exams can lead to large scale spread of coronavirus… alternative methods of assessment can be explored. Students can be promoted on basis of either online exams or internal assessment. The board exams should be cancelled.”

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday morning asked the centre to defer the exams, flagging the second surge in many states.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi urged the government to consult with all the ‘stakeholders’ before making decisions.

He said, “In the light of the devastating Corona second wave, conducting CBSE exams must be reconsidered. All stakeholders must be consulted before making sweeping decisions. On how many counts does intend to play with the future of India’s youth?”

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said it would be ‘downright irresponsible’ of the boards to ask students to sit for the exams in the circumstances.

Parents and several state governments have made several appeals to the Centre to reconsider the decision to conduct offline exams.

India in the last 24 hours recorded 1,84,372 new Covid-19 cases pushing the country’s total to more than 1.38 crore Covid cases.