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'Give top priority to non-creamy layer'

The parliamentary panel apparently agrees with Oversight Committee on the issue, reports Chetan Chauhan.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2006 22:53 IST

A parliamentary committee on Friday recommended preference to non-creamy layer in 27 per cent OBC reservation in government-aided educational institutions. Only if the reserved seats remain vacant, OBC creamy layer should be accommodated on order of merit, the standing committee on HRD, said.

In a report on the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admissions) Bill, 2006, tabled in Parliament, the committee apparently agreed with Veerappa Moily on the creamy layer issue.

Moily, who headed the Oversight Committee to prepare a road map to implement quota, told the committee that inclusion of creamy layer would result in reserved seats being pre-empted by OBCs from higher income group. “Almost all rural and urban OBCs from northern, central and eastern regions would be deprived,” the report said. And, apparent beneficiaries would be OBCs from southern states who have been empowered due to consistent reservation policy. 

The Parliamentary panel also quoted a case study of Karnataka, done for the Oversight Committee, to suggest that OBC quotas have been utilized without any compromise with academic excellence where creamy layer had been excluded.

The issue of exclusion of creamy layer had divided the ruling UPA. While Left parties favoured exclusion of creamy layer, UPA allies like DMK and PMK strongly opposed any such move. Finally, the government decided to extent OBC reservation to all including creamy layer through this bill.

The issue exemption to minority education institutions from reservation invited a dissent note from six BJP members. "We fully support the 27 per cent reservation for socially and educationally backward classes based on caste but we oppose the religion based reservation which is neither conforming to the Constitution nor in the interest of Backward classes," the dissent note said. However, the committee said, the interests of socially and educationally backwards among minorities may be taken care of through suitable mechanism to ensure proper access.

The committee also recommended a monitoring mechanism for implementation of reservation and wanted that women should not get sidelined in the scheme of things, as usually happens. The OBC students who get admission through merit should not be adjusted against the quota and institutions should be made accountable to ensure that the quota is filled, the report said.

The committee also recommended a comprehensive survey of the total population, which can bring out the social, educational and economic profile of each cast/community/section of society. The 1931 caste census is very old, the report said.

Email Chetan Chauhan: chetan@hindustantimes.com