The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Eye on OBC quota in colleges
- Reservation in minority schools also in cabinet-bound proposal

Calcutta, Aug. 9: General category students in medical, engineering, management and other undergraduate or post-graduate courses will have fewer seats if a proposal to be tabled before Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s cabinet tomorrow is approved.

Institutions run by minority communities and aided by the state government, including madarsas and missionary schools, too, would have to reserve 7 per cent seats for candidates from the Other Backward Classes category.

The twin proposals have been cleared by Bhattacharjee and will be placed before his cabinet for discussion.

The proposals are a result of the recommendations of a seven-member committee headed by Basudeb Barman, former vice-chancellor of Kalyani University.

Officials said the government last year introduced reservation for OBC students in institutions — except those run my minority communities — up to the higher secondary level. But it could not do the same at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels due to vehement opposition.

The resentment among academics in colleges and universities prompted the government to set up the expert committee to evaluate introduction of the quota in higher education.

School education minister Kanti Biswas today said if the government can reserve 7 per cent seats for OBC students at the school level, it should also be introduced in higher education. “The proposed move will help OBC students get jobs after completion of higher education,” he added.

If the cabinet passes the proposal, the new quota will apply in all government-aided institutions of higher learning, like medical and dental colleges, engineering, technological and management colleges, homeopathy, ayurvedic and nursing colleges, and all categories of universities.

Higher education minister Satyasadhan Chakraborty said he would comment only after the proposal is passed in the cabinet meeting.

The cabinet will also deliberate on introducing reservation for OBCs in schools run by minorities and funded by the state government when it meets tomorrow.

These would include institutions run by Christian missionaries and the Brahmo Samaj-controlled colleges like Charu Chandra College and all branches of City College. The reservation will also apply to all madarsas.

But the authorities of the minority-run institutions are in the dark. “We have not received any intimation from the state government regarding 7 per cent reservation for OBC students in the field of education,” said Rev. P.S.P. Raju, Bishop of the Calcutta Diocese of the Church of North India.

Out of the 340 undergraduate colleges across Bengal, a sizeable number is run by the minorities, including different denominations of Christian missionaries, the Ramakrishna Mission, the Brahmo Samaj, the Bhowanipore Education Society and other trusts.

The Supreme Court has ruled in the case of TMA PAI Foundation vs Karnataka that the state government has the authority to introduce reservation for OBCs in all minority-run government aided educational institutions.

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