The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Education quota set to increase
- 7% reservation expected for OBCs

Calcutta, Sept. 27: The government is likely to reserve 7 per cent seats in government-run and government-aided colleges and universities for students from other backward classes (OBC) from next year.

The move follows a recommendation of the five-member committee set up last November to fix the percentage of seats to be reserved for OBC students in engineering, medicine, dentistry, law, management and general degree colleges.

The committee headed by CPM member of Parliament and former Vidyasagar University vice-chancellor Basudeb Burman submitted its report to the government last week.

'It will be soon placed before the cabinet. Once the cabinet accepts it, degree, engineering and medical colleges as well as universities will be asked to implement the recommendations from next year,' said Upen Kishku, the minister in charge of OBCs.

An interim report had been placed before the cabinet for approval last month. But it could not be finalised as it lacked details on OBC organisations whose opinions the panel had sought before fixing the quantum of reservation.

Reservation of seats for OBC candidates in higher educational institutions has been mired in controversy because of differences between education minders in the CPM.

Various OBC organisations, which had been lobbying for the reservation, had demanded that over 10 per cent seats be reserved for their candidates in all higher educational institutions.

However, many college and universities feel a fresh reservation will only reduce scope for deserving students in the general category.

They have pointed out how seats reserved for SC and ST candidates often remain vacant in the absence of deserving students while there is a scarcity of seats for students from the general category.

In 1995, the government had introduced reservation of seats in higher educational institutions for SC and ST students on the basis of recommendations of a one-man committee headed by Burman.

The school education department has already introduced reservation for OBC students. Most states have introduced OBC reservation in both schools and higher institutions, a government official said.

He added that very low-performing candidates will not be entitled to avail higher education berths under the quota.

For instance, an OBC candidate with 25 per cent less marks than the lowest scorer among general-category students will be ruled out of the race for admission in that particular course.

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