Special Correspondent

Somnath Chatterjee refers it to Standing Committee

  • The aim is to provide 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in Central educational institutions: Creamy layer included
  • The policy will not be extended to minority institutions

    NEW DELHI: The Bill to provide 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in Central educational institutions barring minority establishments and those located in designated tribal areas was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

    The draft of the Bill titled `The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Bill, 2006' was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee by Speaker Somnath Chatterjee.

    As the Bill is a follow-up to the 93rd Constitution Amendment which provides for reservation of seats for socially and educationally backward classes besides Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs/STs) in all educational institutions other than those run by minority communities the proposed reservation policy will not be extended to minority institutions, including those where SCs/STs were availing themselves of it till date.

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

    While the Bill in English makes no mention of the creamy layer as no exception has been made, its inclusion in the Hindi version of the Bill caused a bit of a stir.

    However, Minister of Human Resource Development Arjun Singh, while piloting the Bill as a small but irrevocable step toward providing equitable access to higher education, clarified it was a typographical error committed during translation. In any case, Ministry officials said that Article 348 of the Constitution clearly stated that the Bill in the English language would prevail in case differences were to creep into translations.

    To be implemented from the next academic year, the Bill provides for a staggered rollout of the policy over a maximum period of three years. This will be applicable only in the case of OBCs.

    However, the decision to stagger reservation will not be that of individual institutions alone. Institutions seeking a phased introduction of the policy 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.'

    Besides minority educational institutions, the new policy will not be applicable to Central educational institutions established in tribal areas referred to in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution; institutions of excellence besides those involved in research and of strategic importance; and specialised programmes, including at the post-doctoral level.

    Exempted institutions

    While the specialised programmes exempted have not been specified in the Bill, the schedule attached to it lists the institutions of excellence kept out.

    These are the Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai, and 10 of its constituent units; the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai; the North-Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Science, Shillong; the National Brain Research Centre, Manesar, Gurgaon; the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore; the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad; the Space Physics Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram; and the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing,Dehra Dun.

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