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Quota arithmetic

The percentage of OBC quota seats varies depending on the strength of a programme.

delhi Updated: Jun 25, 2008 15:50 IST
Rahat Bano

It’s a bonanza, in quantitative terms, for scheduled castes and tribes or SCs and STs as the percentage-based, seat-calculation formula for Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota hikes the number of places for them as well. General category contenders “don’t lose” anything, says A Sankara Reddy, Principal, Sri Venkateswara College.

So, under the existing reservation rules till last year, if there were a hundred seats for a programme, 77.5 (78) went to general category candidates, 15 to SCs and 7.5 (7) to STs.

As Delhi University implements one-third (18 per cent) of the quota this year, this exemplar intake becomes 118 in total, which works out to 78 for general category, 18 for SCs, 9 for STs and 13 for OBCs. The 13 places for OBCs means 11.01 per cent and not 9 per cent.

The seats for the general category remain untouched but the other two reserved sections expand because they are calculated as a percentage of the total intake. S K Vij, Dean, Students’ Welfare, Delhi University, says we shouldn’t go by percentage for the OBC quota as it varies with the strength of a class. “We are expected to increase the intake by 54 per cent over three years.

Then the OBC share will be 27 per cent. For the current year, the university has decided to increase seats in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes by 18 per cent. The OBC figure will keep varying.” At Sri Venkateswara College, for example, the sanctioned strength for the BA programme has gone up from 60 to 71 – 47 unreserved, and 8 for OBCs or 13.3 per cent while the new figure for SCs is 11 and STs 5 as against 9 and 5 (4.5) last year.

According to Suman Verma, Joint Dean, Students’ Welfare, DU, SC and ST seats ususally get “more or less” filled up with the exception of language programmes.

Among the SCs and STs, there is more competition and demand for certain courses (BA programme) and colleges. Significantly, the university can convert SC seats to ST’s and vice versa though such conversion is not permissible in the new OBC quota, says Verma. This year about 11,800 aspirants are vying for 6300 SC and 3240 (3150) ST places.

Of these, 8,800 SCs and STs have applied for the BA programme. The intake is 1200 for SCs and 600 for STs while 80 per cent of the total 11,800 applicants boast SC status. In case of SC and ST enrolment, Minoti Chatterjee, Principal, Kamala Nehru College, says it’s been “so far, so good.” But if you wonder whether the hiked capacity gets fully taken up or not, then as Chatterjee says, it’s premature to say anything. “This year, everybody’s left guessing.”