The cabinet on Monday decided to stagger the introduction of OBC reservation in higher educational institutes over a three-year period and exclude the 'creamy layer' from the benefit of quotas.
At a marathon meeting, the cabinet approved the bill to provide 27 per cent reservation for OBCs from the next academic year.
The bill, to be introduced in Parliament later this week, seeks to implement quota in phases: 5 per cent in the first year, 10 per cent in the second year and 12 per cent in the third.
I&B Minister PR Dasmunsi said the bill sought to reserve seats for SCs, STs and OBCs in central educational institutions, including deemed universities. He said only those institutes maintained and aided by the Centre were covered under the bill.
The bill is drafted in keeping with the government’s promise when Parliament passed the constitutional amendment providing quota for weaker sections.
The HRD Ministry had initially proposed to cover aided as well as unaided institutes under the bill. But over the past few months, the draft bill underwent several changes. One significant change at the instance of PM Manmohan Singh has been the bifurcation of the original bill. The cabinet approved the one for aided institutions on Monday; the other will be brought before the cabinet after consultations.
Ministry officials said the fee as well as the eligibility criteria would be lowered for OBC students. "This will be quantified when the rules are framed," an official said. In its interim report, the Oversight Committee had recommended that the admission criteria for OBC students should be in-between that for SC/ST students and general-category students.