Seat waste in quota-hit JNU

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By CHARU SUDAN KASTURI in Delhi
  • Published 19.08.08
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New Delhi, Aug. 19: Nearly 150 seats at Jawaharlal Nehru University are going waste for the first time because of an admission policy change to counter the OBC quota burden.

Only around 1,600 of the 1,750 seats available have been taken, an initial count has revealed, university officials said. The vacant seats are spread across reserved and unreserved categories, they added.

“Till last year, we had students in excess of the sanctioned strength. This year, at the end of the admissions, only around 1,600 have joined,” director (admissions) K.C. Upadhyaya said, admitting the vacancies were a result of the changed admission policy.

The university has traditionally issued call letters to a greater number of students than its sanctioned strength, to compensate for students who qualify but don’t join.

Even among those who join, some drop out during the course. Therefore, an intake slightly higher than the sanctioned strength helps prevent seats at the popular university from going abegging.

This year, all central higher education institutions, including JNU, are implementing OBC quotas for the first time — they have to ensure that 27 per cent seats are reserved by the 2010-11 session.

JNU has expanded its seats to reserve 12 per cent seats for OBCs this year while ensuring that 22.5 per cent of the raised number can be held for SC/ST students without decreasing general category seats. This translates into an 18 per cent overall expansion in seats.

Several departments complained the expansion was burdening them to an extent where they could not accommodate students beyond the sanctioned number, Upadhyaya said. “The only way we could ensure we have no more than the sanctioned number was by changing the admission policy.”

JNU initially called just as many general category students as the number of seats available. Slightly fewer students from among SC/STs and OBCs than the number of seats available were called, with JNU claiming enough qualified candidates couldn’t be found.

“Not all students issued call letters joined. Then we brought out a second list, and then a third, to fill the vacant general and reserved seats. But many students on the second and third lists had moved to other institutes,” Upadhyaya said.