The UPA-Left meeting on Thursday gave the government the go-ahead to admit students into central institutions of higher education, including the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), along the same pattern as last year. A decision on seats for OBCs will be taken on May 8, the date of the next Supreme Court hearing on the quota issue.
The HRD Ministry is expected to issue a directive on Friday to all educational institutions to re-start the stalled admission process.
The IIMs are expected to start admissions from Monday. “The IIMs were told to finalise the admission process. Now, they have to notify the candidates for admission,” a ministry official said, adding that a directive along these lines was being drafted.
The formula accepted by the meeting, presided over by HRD Minister Arjun Singh, indicates that the extra seats for OBCs, and for the increased number of SC and ST students -- which were added following the government’s decision to implement the quota -- will not be filled right away.
In all, 1,24,377 general-category and SC/ST students will get admission across the country. About 12,000 students -- the extra seats for OBCs and the increased intake of SC and ST students -- will have to wait till May 8.
The first to benefit will be the 1,350 students to make it to the IIMs this year. The admission has been kept on hold since the first week of April.
After the meeting, Arjun Singh briefed the prime minister. At the meeting itself, the DMK, PMK and RJD initially opposed giving the go-ahead to admissions, saying such a move would ease the pressure on the Supreme Court. The parties relented later when the question of the interest of students was raised by Singh. But they expressed apprehension on two counts. First, the impact of the segregation of the admission process. Second, they wanted to know if the government had a fall-back option in case the Supreme Court stay was not vacated on May 8, a question also raised by the CPM.
On Wednesday, the UPA allies had failed to reach a consensus at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, and decided to leave it to the UPA-Left meeting to take a decision. Before the meeting, Singh met the leaders of UPA allies and tried to persuade them to see his ministry's viewpoint.