M A I N   N E W S

LS okays OBC quota Bill
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 14
The Lok Sabha passed by voice vote today evening the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Bill, 2006, seeking to provide 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes in Central Government’s educational institutions.

The House rejected by voice vote the amendment moved by the BJP Deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, Mr V.K. Malhotra, and his party

colleagues, Kharabala Swain and Virendra Singh, for deletion of a line in the Bill that excludes reservation for SCs, STs and OBC students in minority educational institutions.

The Bill was reintroduced today afternoon by Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh with two amendments in the clause two.

While the first amendment states that faculty means the faculty of a Central educational institution, the second amendment in the same clause says that “teaching or instruction in any branch of study'' meaning teaching or instruction in a branch of study leading to three principle levels of qualification at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level.

In his reply preceded by encouraging thumping of tables by members belonging to the treasury benches, Arjun Singh said the government was engaged in drafting a Bill to provide for reservation to SCs, STs and OBCs in unaided educational institiutions.

The Bill was passed after a four-hour-long discussion. UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi arrived late afternoon and sat for nearly two hours till the Bill was passed.

Worthy of notice was the fact that the attendance of members on Congress benches was 10 when their party president arrived and rose dramatically to about 50 by the end of the discussion.

The BJP members raised their voice for amendment of line 12 of a clause as the House was considering clause wise amendments of the Bill.

Mr V.K. Malhotra said all minority educational institutions should also have reservation for SC, ST and OBC students.

He told the House that colleges like St Stephen's and Queen's Mary which are presently giving reservation to SC, ST and OBC students would now deny admissions to students belonging to these categories if the deletion is not made.

“This is a very wrong step. I move the amendment that OBC, SC and ST reservation should also apply to minority educational institutions,'' Mr Malhotra said.

BJP member M.A. Kharabela Swain asked the House as to why minority educational institutions be excluded from reservation for OBCs/SCs and STs.

“Is the responsibility of upliftment of OBCs only the responsibility of the Hindus?”

Supporting the amendment moved by Mr Malhotra, his party colleague Virendra Kumar warned the government that the exclusion of SC/ST and OBC students from the benefit of reservation in minority educational instititutions would promote inequality.

He said students belonging to these categories are not in a position to give donations to gain admission to the Central government educational institutions.''

Before the Deputy Speaker put the amendment moved by BJP members to vote, Mr Arjun Singh said he regretted the amendment. Mr Singh said despite being instigated by the Opposition, the minority educational institutions which have for years been giving admission to SC, ST and OBC students would continue to do so.



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