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Since 1st March, 1999
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Arjun eyes on quota deadline

Ranchi, April 18: Union HRD minister Arjun Singh hoped Indian Institutes of Management would be taking admission of OBCs and follow the new reservation policy from the current academic session.

Unaware of developments in the Supreme Court at the time, he said: “It is April 18 today. We are hopeful of finding out ways by April 21.” IIMs had agreed to defer releasing admission list till April 21 following requests by the Union HRD ministry.

The Union minister was at his evasive best when asked whether existing reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes had worked out in the Indian Institutes of Technology and IIMs. The government, the minister declared, had been studying the issue from time to time.

Asked for his reaction to a study by the IITs which show that 50 per cent of the reserved seats remain vacant and half the candidates securing admission to the remaining reserved seats have often failed to acquire a degree even after six years, the minister’s acerbic reply was, “did you not listen to my earlier reply'”

Only seven per cent of the students in India, he said earlier in his convocation address at the Ranchi University, are able to avail of higher education. With the figure much higher in the developed world, he said, there is an urgent need to increase the figure to 15 per cent by 2015.

State HRD ministers, he pointed out, had agreed to the 93rd Constitution amendment to include special provision for reservation to SC, ST and Backwards. “We have to ensure that benefits of higher education be reaped by all sections of society,” he stressed in his brief, 15-minute address.

Singh supported the demand for converting Ranchi University into a central university and indicated that with the ministry proposing that each state should have at least one central university, RU stood a fair chance of securing the status during the 11th Five Year Plan.

The minister also promised a triple IT (Indian Institute of Information Technology), 11 more polytechnics and to increase UGC grants to Ranchi University from Rs 3 crore during the 10th Plan period that ended in March, to Rs 10 crore in the current Five Year Plan period.

The minister was presumably not aware that RU had failed to utilise even Rs 3 crore during the last five years. In fact, it managed to use only half the amount, with many university departments yet to submit utilisation certificates or even proposals for the next five years.

Chancellor Syed Sibtey Razi lamented the complete lack of accountability in state universities and said: “I am in favour of autonomy with accountability.” The three general universities in the state, he added, had Rs 70 crore lying in fixed deposits, which could be utilised for improving higher education. RU vice-chancellor A.A. Khan, chief minister Madhu Koda and state HRD minister Bandhu Tirkey also addressed the gathering.

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