A government order issued on Thursday for the implementation of the economically weaker sections quota in central educational institutions was silent about enacting a law to enforce the quota at private institutions too.
Human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar had told a news conference on Tuesday that all education quotas, caste and economic, would be extended to private institutions from the upcoming academic session.
The Press Information Bureau, the Centre’s publicity wing, too had said in a media release on Tuesday that the 10 per cent economic quota would be implemented across “40,000 colleges and 900 universities in the country” from the 2019-20 session. India’s 900 universities include more than 500 private ones.
Thursday’s office memorandum from Smita Srivastava, a director in Javadekar’s ministry, merely said: “The reservation shall be provided to EWSs (economically weaker sections) for admission in (sic) CEIs (central educational institutions) from academic year 2019-20 onwards.”
Although the Constitution provides for reservation in private institutions, it has so far not been implemented for the lack of a specific law. The UPA government had assured Parliament about such a law while the NDA wanted to drop that assurance last August.
Thursday’s order said central educational institutions could increase their seats to avoid a reduction in the number of unreserved seats. They could stagger the economic quota’s enforcement over a two-year period. It added the economic quota would not apply to eight institutions of excellence (which are also exempt from caste quotas).
They are the Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai, and its 10 units; the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai; the North-Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, Shillong; the National Brain Research Centre, Gurgaon; the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore; the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad; the Space Physics Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram; and the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun.
A senior HRD ministry official had said on Tuesday that the government might bring in a bill in the budget session to enforce reservation in private institutions.