The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Quota: Reach for private cash

New Delhi, Sept. 27: The quota committee has recommended to the government that it seek private funds for higher education to raise the money to implement the 27 per cent reservation for other backward classes (OBCs).

The quota enforcement in national institutions such as IIMs, IITs and medical colleges begins from the 2007 academic year.

After an eight-hour meeting during which the committee put finishing touches to its final report, its head Veerappa Moily said: “We have also suggested setting up three more Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and more IIT-like institutions.”

Now, there are six IITs and five IIMs. The human resource development ministry, headed by Arjun Singh who initiated the quota, has been rooting for more IITs and IIMs.

The cost of the 27 per cent quota — over the 22.5 per cent that already exists for SC/STs — will be Rs 17,200 crore over the next five years.

It means that from the next academic year, higher education institutions will have to grapple with an over 50 per cent additional seats. The government has made it clear that the new quota should not eat into general category seats.

“The Centre can explore the option of investing private funds in higher educational institutions,” Moily said.

The final report has suggested review of the quota regime every five years. The objective is to plug loopholes in implementation.

It recommends affirmative action other than numerical quotas. “We have suggested remedial action from the ninth standard in school so that this leads to empowerment. We have also suggested scholarships,” Moily added.

The basic parameters of implementing the quota have already been laid down in the bill introduced in the Lok Sabha. The bill is now under the scrutiny of a parliamentary standing committee. The government expects to pass the bill in the winter session beginning at the end of November.

The IITs and IIMs sought more time from the committee today than the three years given in the bill.

Moily said: “The IITs and IIMs wanted four instead of three years. But it was decided that the deadline cannot be allowed to go beyond three years.”

The HRD ministry had favoured one-shot introduction. But the Prime Minister intervened, eventually leading to staggered implementation. “Some institutions even now can go for one-shot introduction,” said Moily.

The committee’s final report does not go beyond the highlights in the interim report submitted to the Prime Minister and Arjun Singh last month.

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