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Limit on marks may hurt OBCs

The SC verdict on 27% OBC quota could be a blessing in disguise for general category students. Chetan Chauhan reports.

india Updated: Apr 13, 2008 00:41 IST
Chetan Chauhan

The SC verdict on 27 per cent OBC quota could be a blessing in disguise for general category students. The ban on the creamy layer and the limit placed on entry-level marks may skim out many candidates from the targeted beneficiaries.

The court has held that the vacant slots in the OBC quota, whose implementation would create 54 per cent more seats in higher education, will go to general category students. The difference in entry-level marks of general category and OBC students cannot be more than 10 per cent. This is what the Veerappa Moily-led Oversight Committee on quota-implementation had also proposed to the government. The very elements that strike a balance between the two categories would make the play field uneven for non-creamy OBC aspirants.

Government data shows that of the total students enrolled in higher education, just about 10 per cent were from poor families.

The SC verdict on 27 per cent OBC quota could be a blessing in disguise for general category students. The ban on the creamy layer and the limit placed on entry-level marks may skim out many candidates from the targeted beneficiaries.

The court has held that the vacant slots in the OBC quota, whose implementation would create 54 per cent more seats in higher education, will go to general category students. The difference in entry-level marks of general category and OBC students cannot be more than 10 per cent. This is what the Veerappa Moily-led Oversight Committee on quota-implementation had also proposed to the government. The very elements that strike a balance between the two categories would make the play field uneven for non-creamy OBC aspirants.

Government data shows that of the total students enrolled in higher education, just about 10 per cent were from poor families.

“ Filling the OBC seats for higher learning will not be easy as a large number drops out before the senior secondary,” said an official of the National University for Educational Research and Administration (NEUPA).

Finding OBC graduates for admissions in IIMs is going to be really tough. The Centre for Study of Developing Societies says Hindu OBC graduates in the twenty-plus age group are just 10 per cent of the total graduates. On omitting the creamy layer, the corresponding numbers will go down further, leaving huge vacancies in seats against their quota.

For this reason, the Centre had, at the height of the quota debate in 2006, recommended entry of creamy layer OBCs against unfilled reserved seats. The idea makes sense if one goes by the availability of SC-ST students to whom the creamy layer concept does not apply. Over 50 per cent of the seats reserved for them in IITs and IIMs remain vacant. In the universities, SC-ST students occupy only 16 per cent of seats against their share of 22.5 per cent.