People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 23, 2006
SFI On OBC Reservations
THE issue of reservations has again come to the fore with the HRD minister announcing the government’s intention to reserve 27 per cent of the seats for the OBCs in central universities, IITs, IIMs and other educational institutes under the control of the Union government. The Students’ Federation of India welcomes the move to allocate reservations for the backward sections of the society. Vested sections are trying to arouse passions among the students against this supposed move.
In a press release issued on April 7, 2006, the SFI stated that the provision of reservations to OBCs is prevalent in many states in the education institutes run by the state governments. SFI has been demanding the government to amend the Constitution and enact an enabling legislation to provide reservations in self-financing institutions to overcome the situation that has emerged after the Supreme Court judgement in the P.A. Inamdar Case. The government has to enact suitable legislation to ensure the provision of reservations in self-financing institutions also.
The general argument that is put forward is that is against merit and enables all sub-standard students to enter the prestigious and reputed institutes. All these institutes have prescribed minimum qualifications required for gaining eligibility for admission. Students are given admission under reservations only after they prove themselves to be over and above the prescribed eligibility criteria. Moreover we should not forget that merit is directly linked with the policies of the government and the availability of quality education to all students irrespective of their economic and social conditions. It is to be noted here that the Director of IIT, Kharagpur has said that it does not in any way effect the quality of education imparted in these reputed institutes.
People who are against reservations are spreading panic among the students that they will lose seats in the education institutes. It is sad that these people instead of demanding the government to increase the number of seats available in the reputed institutes and establish many such reputed institutes are either silent on the issue or are against these moves. These are the very people who want the government to move away from its social responsibility of imparting higher education.
There is a big demand for higher education in our country and this is going to increase in the coming days, as there is a demographic shift towards youth in our country. More than half of our population is under 20 years of age. The government has to come forward in a big way and start many new institutes, improve the conditions of the institutes run by it and ensure access to quality education to all. Instead of this the government is keeping silent on the demands for increasing the number of IITs and IIMs and is not increasing the allocations for higher education in particular and entire education in general.