In second year of quotas for backward groups, campuses struggle to cope | delhi | Hindustan Times
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In second year of quotas for backward groups, campuses struggle to cope

delhi Updated: May 08, 2009 01:35 IST
Chitrangada Choudhury

Finding enough water, electricity and hostel rooms are the issues troubling V.K. Jain, registrar of Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, as he tries to find place for the 300 new students from other backward communities (OBCs).

“We have built a new hostel, which should be opened this academic session,” said Jain, whose campus has about 5,500 students. “But that will still keep more than 1,000 students on the waiting list.” He’ll also need 95 new teachers, and is planning new buildings for each of JNU’s 14 departments.

As some of India’s most well-known educational institutions enter the second academic year since the Supreme Court upheld 27 per cent reservation for students from OBCs in centrally-aided institutions, campuses are still struggling to provide for the flood of students.

Most institutions assured the Centre last year that they would implement the quotas in phases, over three years. They said they would also increase general admissions, so students without affirmative action do not end up battling for fewer places. This means the number of students, by 2011, will increase by 54 per cent. That target looks unlikely as they struggle to reach quotas of 8 to 18 per cent this year.

At Delhi University, where colleges have to take in nearly 19,000 more students by 2011, Dean, Students Welfare, S. Vij said: “We’ve got financial sanction for additional services from classrooms, labs, books and libraries, because all this is under pressure. The amount of personal attention teachers could give students is however decreasing.”

At Ahmedabad’s Indian Institute of Management, administrator N. Pillai said they started a six per cent reservation last year. This will go to 13 per cent this year, less than half the promised quota. Pillai said new infrastructure, like hostels, was being put in place.

Some universities aren’t doing anything this year. “We have not received any intimation from the HRD (Human Resource Development) Ministry to implement the OBC quotas,” said Rakshanda Jalil, spokesperson for Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia, which is ignoring affirmative action in its admissions for 2009.

A senior HRD ministry official, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said Jamia was told to draft an expansion plan last July, but it did not.

At the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Registrar V. Gupta said up to nine per cent of the quotas were implemented last year. But this year there will be no progress towards the 27 per cent mark. He said: “There are financial and infrastructure problems.”