M A I N   N E W S

Varsities with focus on minorities mooted
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 14
If all goes well, the country could soon have a new model of central universities that offer preferential admission to students from minority communities. Presently, no central university makes such a provision.

But a new proposal from the Ministry of Minority Affairs seeks to do that. Forwarded to the law ministry for vetting, the proposal explores a central university model in public-private partnership mode (instead of total central funding), to come up on land donated by the Wakf Board in Rajasthan, Bihar and Karnataka.

The proposed universities would come up at Ajmer, Kishanganj and Mysore, and would offer admission to both majority and minority students, with the latter getting a major share of seats for the simple reason that the land for these universities will be given by the Muslim community.

Among all minorities, Muslims, who make up for 85 per cent, are proposed to get the largest share of seats in the new varsities.

The concept has been borrowed from Dr BR Ambedkar University, which came up to educationally empower SC students, Minister of Minority Affairs Salman Khursheed said on Tuesday.

“Just like the Ambedkar University that offers extra reservation to SC students beyond the existing reservation limit of 49.5 per cent, the proposed central universities will offer preferential treatment to minorities, as recommended by Justice Sachar who wanted more avenues for the educationally and economically backward,” Khursheed told The Tribune.

In making this new proposal, the ministry appears to bypass the Supreme Court, which is yet to rule on the status of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) as a minority institution.

The status of AMU is under dispute as the varsity came up under an act of legislature and does not conform to the requirements under Article 30 of the Constitution that allows the minorities to establish and manage minority institutions.

“The government has two options - either wait for the Supreme Court to give a judgement or find a new legal window to set up central universities which can help the minority students, who are already educationally deprived,” Khursheed said.



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