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Cabinet likely to clear quota bill on Monday

india Updated: Aug 20, 2006 23:53 IST
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A meeting of the Cabinet scheduled for Monday is likely to clear a bill providing 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in government-aided institutions of higher learning.

The Cabinet is likely to consider only the legislation concerning aided institutions like IITs and IIMs, though the Human Resource Development Ministry has also prepared a draft bill regarding quotas in unaided universities, official sources said.

The government's urgency in de-linking the unaided institutions from the process was aimed at getting the quota bill pertaining to aided institutions passed as the monsoon session of Parliament will end on August 25.

The government has already committed itself to introducing the bill in the current session.

A draft bill for quotas in unaided institutions, which is in circulation among various ministries, is likely to be taken up later, after the Oversight Committee headed by former Karnataka Chief Minister Veerappa Moily prepares a roadmap for the same.

The HRD ministry is understood to have left the contentious issue of including the creamy layer within the OBCs in the new quota policy to the Union Cabinet.

The UPA's southern allies -- DMK and PMK -- have petitioned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for implementing the quota in one go. DMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Karunandhi and PMK founder S Ramadoss have written to the Prime Minister recently, saying there should be no dilution on the issue.

Backed by Left parties and key allies like DMK and PMK, HRD Minister Arjun Singh did not want any delay in implementing quotas from the next academic year.

The Oversight Committee in its interim report presented to the Prime Minister recently gave strong indications that the implementation could be done in phases in view of certain issues and constraints expressed by the elite institutions.

The institutions have expressed concern at the timeframe for implementing the quotas and the possibility of sudden expansion of seats "leading to loss of merit and excellence".

The Oversight Committee is expected to submit its final report by August 31.

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