Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Tuesday ruled out implementation of the 10% quota for economically weaker sections (EWS) among the open competition category in medical admissions sans political consensus.
A meeting of “recognised” political parties would be convened to elicit views on the Medical Council of India’s proposal offering to increase the sanctioned strength of students in medical colleges by 25% if the State implemented the 10% quota in admissions, brought in earlier this year by the Central government.
“Under any circumstances, the government will continue to implement the 69% reservation,” Mr. Palaniswami assured the Assembly after Leader of the Opposition and DMK president M.K. Stalin questioned the MCI’s proposal.
Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam referred to the case before a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court regarding 69% reservation, and said the Advocate General and senior counsel in Delhi would be consulted on the MCI letter as well as the pending case.
“We will discuss and decide in such a way that even 0.1% is not affected in the 69% reservation policy under any circumstance,” he said.
Mr. Palaniswami said a decision on implementing 10% quota for the EWS would be taken if a consensus emerged among leaders of all “recognised” political parties at the proposed meeting.
Explaining the MCI’s proposal, he said that Tamil Nadu would get 1,000 medical seats additionally (if it implemented the 10% quota), of which 150 would be filled up under the all-India quota. Of the remaining seats, 264 would be earmarked for the open competition quota and 586 seats could be filled up through the existing 69% quota.
Assailing the 10% quota for EWS, Mr. Stalin said it was not only against the Constitution but also detrimental to social justice. Pointing out a report in The Hindu that said that only 1% of the top teaching posts in Central universities were occupied by OBCs, he said while the AIADMK harped on former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s efforts in implementing the 69% reservation, the 10% quota would make her achievements go in vain.
The present system of leaving 31% seats for open competition candidates was functioning well and there was no need for implementing 10% reservation for EWS, Mr. Stalin argued and charged that the Centre’s proposal was “slow poison” for social justice in Tamil Nadu.
Health Minister C. Vijaya Baskar said that except Karnataka and Tamil Nadu other States had accepted MCI’s proposal.
Joining issue with him, DMK legislator K. Ponmudi said just because other States had accepted, does not mean that Tamil Nadu should follow suit. MCI’s offer of additional medical seats was more of a threat than incentive, he said.
Congress MLA J.G. Prince (Colachel) and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) legislator K.A.M. Muhammed Abubacker (Kadayanallur) too opposed the 10% quota for EWS in Tamil Nadu.