M A I N   N E W S

Govt directive to central institutes
Go ahead with quota
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 20
Almost a week after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of 27 per cent OBC quota in aided educational institutions, the ministry of HRD has issued instructions to the IIMs and other central institutes to go ahead with reservation.

The ministry of HRD, in an office memorandum issued this evening, directed the centrally funded elite educational institutions, including IIMs, to implement the OBC quota sans creamy layer from this session. The directive will be applicable to all institutions except those of excellence and national importance exempted under the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006.

The 27 per cent OBC quota is to be implemented apart from the existing SC quota of 15 per cent and ST quota of 7.5 per cent. The CEIs, states the order, have prepared a programme of phasing of the expansion and the same had been approved, states the office memorandum, adding: In view of the orders of the Supreme Court, the academic session commencing 2008-09 would, for all practical purposes, be the first year of implementation.

The quota, it adds, will be applicable to all programmes at undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate level. Only highly specialised courses like post-doctoral programmes will be exempted in consultation with appropriate authorities like UGC, etc. ‘There shall be no exemption from the policy of reservation except where the central government so specifies for a course covered under clause (d) of Section 4 of the Act,’ states the ministry, adding that OBCs, SCs and STs under the CEI Act shall not apply to minority educational institutions.

The ministry order also says that central government is taking steps to ensure that CEIs are not put to difficulty in phasing of admissions under Section 6 of the Act. Each CEI shall ensure that from among candidates belonging to OBCs applying for admission against the seats reserved for OBC category, information is collected from the candidates for exercising due diligence so that no candidate belonging to the creamy layer is given the benefit of reservation for OBCs, the ministry has said, authorising each CEI to fix separate cut off marks for admission for the OBC candidates as each institution may deem appropriate for maintaining the standards of education and at the same time ensuring that sufficient number of eligible OBC candidates are available.

Unlike the IITs, AIIMS, PGI and other aided medical institutions which held meetings last week to roll out their quota implementation plans, IIMs are yet to finalise a strategy on the issue. The challenge will be mighty considering that the IIMs had earlier promised that the quota would not affect general category students.

IIM-Ahmedabad spokesperson, when contacted today, however, said “we have not yet received a formal directive from the ministry”, adding that a long weekend might have delayed the directive in case the government has already issued it. The IIMs have been waiting to receive clear instructions from HRD ministry on the issue of creamy layer and postgraduate courses.

Sources in HRD ministry had last week said that the creamy layer issue would have to be explained by the social justice ministry, which, in turn, says that the matter is being studied by the National Commission for Backward Classes. The commission is looking at the possibility of inflation-related revision of the creamy layer criteria.

The IIMs, meanwhile, say they want the ministry to throw light on “grey” areas related to the issue. They have on their part also undertaken to study the apex court judgment in detail.

Some reports earlier suggested that the IIMs might increase the seats by 6 per cent in the first year and 30 per cent each in the second and third years to accommodate those eligible for OBC quota. Right now the IIMs have 1600 seats; each having 250 to 300 seats.

The IITs and medical institutes have meanwhile announced their plans of implementing the quota. While IITs will implement it over three years in phases by reserving 9 per cent seats every year, medical institutes including AIIMS will bring in reservations over a period of two years.



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