Most state government towed the party line on introduction of 27 per cent OBC reservation in private unaided institutes at a conference by the Central government for ascertaining views of stakeholders for introducing 27 per cent OBC reservation in unaided higher education institutions.
The states demanded that the right to legislate on the OBC reservation issue, while agreeing to implement the Constitutional provision by next year.
There was difference of opinion on the issue of whether creamy layer should be included in the ambit of reservation or not. While the state governments under Left parties rule sought exclusion of creamy layer, states like Uttar Pradesh said that creamy layer should not be excluded from the benefit.
The Group of Ministers on Reservation, headed by Defence Minister Pranab Mukherji had called state Chief Ministers and education ministers for a two-day meeting to hear their views on the introduction of the quota in private unaided institutions. The meeting was also attended by HRD minister Arjun Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
However, most of the state governments decided to stick to their respective party lines. Ministers from the BJP-ruled states demanded that OBC reservation should be applicable to minority education institutions.
Chattisgarh education Minister Ajay Chandrakar and Karnataka education Minister Shankarmurthy said that they told the Central government that religion, geography and language should not be a consideration for introducing reservation.
However, Uttar Pradesh Higher Education Minister Ram Asrey Verma and the state's Technical and Agricultural Education Minister Yogesh Pratap Singh said such institutions had already been excluded from the purview of reservation by a Constitutional amendment.
They, however, said they also wanted that there should be no interference of the Centre in drawing up regulations for implementing the quota plan and it should be implemented in one go.
The representatives of Kerala government demanded a right for the state governments to define minority. Majority of higher education institutions in the state are owned by Christian organisations, defined as minority education institutions by the Central Government. They also reiterated the demand of Left parties that creamy layer should be applied only if the seats are not filled by the poorest of the poor among OBCs.