Debating India

Lok Sabha passes OBC quota Bill

Friday 15 December 2006

Special Correspondent

It provides for 27 per cent reservation in Central higher educational institutions

Legislation to extend quota in unaided institutions under preparation Exemption clause will defeat very purpose of Bill: BJP

NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha on Thursday unanimously passed the bill to extend 27 per cent reservation for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in Central higher education institutions, barring minority establishments and those located in designated tribal areas.

Christened `The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Bill, 2006’, the draft legislation was cleared with voice vote after a BJP amendment seeking deletion of the clause exempting minority institutions was rejected.

Replying to a four-and-half-hour long discussion, Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh said a separate legislation to extend reservation for the OBCs in unaided institutions was under preparation and would be brought before Parliament in the near future. He was responding to questions raised by Prabodh Panda (Communist Party of India) and Sujon Chakravorty (CPI-M) why reservation was not being made applicable in unaided institutions.

"No other option"

On exemption to the minority institutions, the Minister clarified that the Government had no other option in the wake of the 93rd Constitution Amendment, which provided for reservation for socially and educationally backward classes, besides the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in all institutions other than those run by the minorities. Though Varkala Radhakrishnan (CPI-M) objected to the minority exemption clause, only the Bharatiya Janata Party moved the amendment calling for its deletion. BJP deputy leader V.K. Malhotra said the exemption would defeat the very purpose of the bill as it would reduce the number of avenues for the SC/ST and the OBCs to higher education institutions. Kharabela Swain (BJP) wanted to know whether Hindus alone had a responsibility towards uplifting the marginalised sections. "Will minorities partake of the fruits of development without returning anything back to society."

As for centres of excellence having been kept out of the reservation regime in the Schedule attached to the Bill - a sore point with Rashtriya Janata Dal and Samajwadi Party members - the Minister clarified that these were primarily carrying out research work.

If and when they began teaching and admitting students, the reservation policy would be made applicable to them.

Staggered rollout

The proposed reservation policy will be applicable across the board to all SCs and STs and the OBCs. Unlike in employment, where reservation is not extended to the "creamy layer" among the OBCs, no such exception has been made in education.

The policy is to be implemented from the next academic year. The bill provides for a staggered rollout of the new policy over a maximum period of three years.

The staggered rollout will be applicable only for the OBCs and not for the other reserved categories.

However, the decision to stagger reservation will not be that of individual institutions alone. Institutions seeking a phased introduction will have to make a representation to the Centre citing financial, physical or academic limitations and a decision will be taken in consultation with the `appropriate authority’.

See online : The Hindu

SPIP | template | | Site Map | Follow-up of the site's activity RSS 2.0