M A I N   N E W S

IIMs may go ahead with admissions

New Delhi, April 25
The government today appeared to be veering around to allowing IIMs to go ahead with admissions to the general category students this academic year and await the Supreme court verdict to provide reservation for OBCs.

The HRD ministry will take up this proposal before the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, HRD Minister Arjun Singh told reporters after his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today.

Asked whether general category students can be admitted while keeping open the OBC quota option, he said “it is entirely possible (and) that is why we are trying to accommodate the non-reserved category.” The Supreme Court has advanced by three months to May 8 the hearing on the quota issue.

Replying to a question on the Ministry’s proposal to the CCPA, he said “in the changed scenario the question is whether we can grant permission for admission to non-reserved categories as was done in the previous years and later take up the admission of reserved categories after the court’s decision.” The CCPA is meeting later tonight.

Arjun Singh said he briefed the Prime Minister about the status of IIM admissions. “The Prime Minister was of the view that since the decision to keep the admissions on hold was a collective decision, it would be in the fitness of things that we take a collective decision on permitting admission.” He said since practically all top leaders are members of the CCPA, it would be more or less a collective decision of the alliance.

Arjun Singh also dismissed reports of differences between the HRD and law ministries on the quota issue. “On this issue or any other issue, there are no differences between the law ministry and our ministry. Both ministries filed the petition in the court together,” he added.

Asked what prompted the government to think about admissions to the general category, he did not give a direct reply and just said it was in the interest of the students and nothing else.

He said the government was thinking about allowing admissions to general category since the court has decided to hold an early hearing on May 8 as the previous hearing was scheduled for August 8.

On whether there will be a review of the creamy layer issue by the government, he said “the matter was considered at the highest level and the Cabinet had decided that we should not include this issue at this time.” Whether the creamy layer issue would go against the spirit of Mandal Commission judgement, he said “I can’t presume things. The hearing will be on May 8 and let us see what the court says.” Asked whether the government faced any pressure from its allies to put on hold admissions in IIMs till May 8, he replied in the negative.

His statement comes against the backdrop of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's statement yesterday that pro-quota protests would erupt like a “volcano” across the country if 27 per cent reservation was not given for OBCs in elite educational institutions. — PTI



UPA, Left to meet today

New Delhi, April 25
The UPA allies and the Left parties will meet tomorrow to resolve the issue of OBC quota and admissions to the higher educational institutions. This was decided at the meeting of Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs held at the residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here tonight. — UNI



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