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Quota bill for unaided bodies in winter session

india Updated: Aug 31, 2006 01:49 IST

THE STORM over reservation in aided higher-education institutions not quite over, the government now wants to bring a separate law to introduce 27 per cent OBC quota in private unaided higher-education institutions. The bill is likely to be introduced in Parliament's winter session.

On Wednesday, HRD Minister Arjun Singh said the government was framing a draft bill. "It'll come into force in due course," he said.

On the necessity for a separate bill for unaided institutes (those which receive no funds from the government), Singh said: "There're certain things which need to be done. It was the cabinet's decision to bring a separate bill for unaided institutes."

The ministry had forwarded the bill for the cabinet's consideration on August 21 -- when the government decided to include the creamy layer in the ambit of OBC reservation and approved the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Bill for reservation in aided institutes. The bill has been referred to Parliament's standing committee.

The cabinet secretariat, however, returned the bill for unaided institutes, saying it required more discussion, especially with stakeholders.

In May, the HRD Ministry had held talks with deemed-to-be-universities and got their preliminary views. Some deemed universities had sought government funding for introducing 27 per cent OBC reservation -- a demand said to be unacceptable to the government. Another round of talks is likely to be conducted soon with the stakeholders before the bill is moved for the cabinet's consideration.

The chairman of a leading private deemed university said it was too early to react. "Let us wait and see how the government proposes to introduce the reservation," he said.

The bill -- which will affect institutes like BITS Pilani, Amity University and the Manipal Academy of Higher Education -- is likely to have provisions giving power to the government to regulate fee structure. The government wants fees and eligibility criteria for reserved categories (SCs, STs, OBCs) to be lower than that for general-category students -- an idea strongly opposed by private educational institutes.