M A I N   N E W S

Quota Bill introduced in Lok Sabha
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 25
The controversial Bill to provide 27 per cent reservation for OBCs, including those belonging to the ‘creamy layer’ in elite central and aided educational institutions like IITs, IIMs, from the next academic session was introduced in the Lok Sabha today.

Introducing the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Bill in the Lower House, Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh said it would benefit millions of students belonging to the socially and economically weaker sections of society.

Speaker Somnath Chatterjee announced that the Bill will be referred to the department-related Standing Committee, where its finer points will be debated. It will then be put forward in its final form in the winter session of Parliament.

Mr Arjun Singh said the Bill provides for a mandatory increase in the number of seats in central educational institutions, which would be attained over a maximum period of three years, beginning with 2007 academic session.

The Bill applicable to central universities, IITs and IIMs and certain other institutions established, maintained or aided by the Central Government, defines OBCs as the class or classes of citizens who are socially and educationally backward and are so determined by the Central Government.

The Bill envisages 27 per cent seat reservation for OBCs in admission to central educational institutions, besides 15 per cent for SCs and 7.5 per cent for STs.

There is no mention of the “creamy layer” concept in the Bill, the inclusion of which was demanded by the CPI(M) and opposed by the proponents of the measure — DMK, PMK, RJD and LJP.

However, there are three categories of institutions, which will not come under the quota Bill. These are minority-run institutions, central institutions set up in tribal areas and centres of excellence.

Seventeen institutions of scientific and technological importance like Homi Bhabha National Institute and its constituent units have been kept away from the new reservation scheme.

The Bill’s provisions will not apply to minority educational institutions.

In the face of protests by students belonging to the general category, angry over their reduced share in the pie, the legislation seeks to provide for a mandatory increase in the number of seats in the central educational institutions for open category students.

If seats cannot be increased in an academic session after the Act comes into force, an institution may notify in an official gazette that it would increase the strength over a maximum period of three years.

The Bill says if for reasons of financial, physical or academic limitations or in order to maintain the standards of education, the annual permitted strength in any branch of study or faculty of such institutions cannot be increased for the coming academic session, it may seek permission to increase the strength over a maximum period of three years.

The Bill, which was cleared by the Cabinet on Monday, is expected to be taken up for consideration in the next session of Parliament in winter.

While the DMK and PMK have demanded that there should be no dilution in the implementation and that the measure should be implemented in one go, the government has chosen to implement it in a staggered manner.

A similar Bill for unaided institutions is likely to be taken up at a later stage.

The tabling of the Bill caps a bitter controversy triggered six months ago by HRD Minister Arjun Singh’s statement on reservation in these institutions that sparked agitation by medicos in the Capital and elsewhere.

Today’s decision marks a new phase in affirmative action for backward castes and SCs and STs after the implementation of the Mandal Commission report for job reservation in the early 1990s.

The issue gained centre stage late last year after the Supreme Court judgment striking down reservation in unaided educational institutions, which raised a storm of protests with leaders cutting across party lines favouring a constitutional amendment to nullify the apex court order.




HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |