ANDHRA PRADESH

Protect students of weaker sections: YSR

Chief Minister writes to Manmohan seeking legislation on reservations

Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking urgent steps to bring suitable legislation to restore access of weaker sections to professional education.

Referring to the Supreme Court judgment in matters related to admission to professional colleges and courses in the country, Dr. Reddy said on Friday it would deprive 35, 000 students belonging to weaker sections of a chance to study.

Private participation

State Governments permitted private participation in providing professional and higher education due to resource constraint but fixed suitable quota for the students belonging to weaker sections. The move had greatly facilitated the growth of professional education in the country while simultaneously ensuring social justice, he said.

Andhra Pradesh alone had 252 engineering colleges with an intake capacity of 85,000 seats out of which only eight colleges were university engineering colleges with a total intake capacity of 1,935 seats. If the apex court judgment was followed, only 2 per cent reservation would be available for weaker sections, he said defending the necessity of legislation.

The Chief Minister also demanded inclusion of eight more districts in the State in the list of districts to be benefited under the National Rural Employment Bill introduced in the Lok Sabha. He directed officials to prepare the case for inclusion of Nizamabad, Medak, Karimnagar, Chittoor, Kurnool, Nellore and Prakasam districts in the list.

Hailing the Bill as a radical measure on more than one count, particularly in the light of the amendments that made it more effective in covering the poor households, he said it would also give a greater thrust to local self-governance.

Dr. Reddy has decided to take up the issue personally with the Prime Minister who is expected to visit Hyderabad soon.

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