M A I N   N E W S

2 quit PM’s knowledge panel
Object to quota move
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 22
Objecting to the government’s proposal of implementing 27 per cent reservation for OBCs, two members of the National Knowledge Commission, Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Andre Beteille, today sent in their resignations to the Prime Minister.

Opposed to the move of extending reservation in the higher educational institutions, the two members who had earlier criticised the reservation policy said quotas in elite institutions “violate the cardinal principles of a knowledge-based society”.

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, member-convener of the commission and president of the Centre for Policy Research, who had earlier voiced his reservation against quotas, said the government's measures were not based on an assessment of effectiveness and the proposal is incompatible with the freedom and diversity of institutions.

In his letter to the PM, Mehta has written that the palliative measures being contemplated by the government, “violate four cardinal principles that institutions in a knowledge-based society will have to follow: they are not based on assessment of effectiveness, they are incompatible with the freedom and diversity of institutions, they more thoroughly politicise the education process, and they inject an insidious poison that will harm the nation’s long-term interest”.

Noted sociologist Andre Beteille in his resignation letter cited that the quota proposal was a cynical misrepresentation of the recent provisions of the Constitution. Pointing out that the caste quotas are not required by the constitution, he said any such policy would be unwise. The NKC has been set up by the Prime Minister with eminent communication expert Sam Pitroda as its chairperson to sharpen India's knowledge edge and promote excellence in the education system.

Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University Vice-Chancellor said today that the government’s proposal to increase the seats in colleges and universities to maintain a status quo vis-à-vis the general category seats could be done over a period of time.

He said Delhi University would need at least a couple of years to increase its intake of students. Dr Pental said: “Given the present infrastructure, we will need at least two to three years to increase the intake of students, there will be a need to open more colleges and recruit quality teachers”.

He went on to add: “At the moment we have 1.1 lakh to 1.2 lakh students in all our colleges. Given the norms of teachers-pupil ratio and infrastructure, it is not possible to increase the number of seats”.


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