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No review of quota policy, says FM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 10
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has made it clear that government has no intention to review its decision to extend 27 per cent reservation to other backward classes (OBC) in higher educational institutions.

However, he said the government would submit its answer to the Supreme Court by compiling various state reports of OBC numbers, the Mandal report and the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) surveys.

"There is no ground to review whether there should be reservations or not," Mr Chidambaram said in an interview with Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN's programme 'Devil's Advocate', to be aired on Sunday.

"If a review means questioning the justification of reservations, I say no," said Mr Chidambaram, who is a member of the ministerial group set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue of reservation.

Last month, minister without portfolio Oscar Fernandes had given a written commitment to the protesting students and doctors that the government would review and examine their demands.

But the Finance Minister said he was not aware of any such commitment. "I don't know. You must ask Mr Fernandes. I've not seen that document," he said.

"The government's decision will be taken in the Cabinet. A group of ministers is advisory. If Mr Fernandes has said it will be examined, I'm sure he means every word. It will be examined ... (then) it will come to the Cabinet for a decision. I cannot now say what the decision will be."

Mr Chidambaram said the government was yet to establish the basis for 27 per cent reservation for the OBCs even though the Supreme Court had asked it to come clear on this issue.

"The ministry has to put together all the material available to it to reach the conclusion of 27 per cent ... The material will be put together. Wait for the material,' Mr Chidambaram said.

The government will compile its answers on the basis of reports from states on the population of the OBCs, the Mandal Commission report and the NSSO data, the Finance Minister said.

Asked about his personal position on the issue, Mr Chidambaram said he supported the new reservation policy. "I know from experience that reservations have helped many, many, many members of the OBCs to rise in the southern states. I am totally convinced about that."


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