HRD MINISTER Arjun Singh introduced the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Bill 2006 in the Lok Sabha on Friday, the last day of the monsoon session. The House then referred the bill for further deliberations to the ministry's standing committee.
The bill provides 27 per cent reservation for OBCs, 15 per cent for SCs and 7.5 per cent for STs — a total of 49.5 per cent — in central higher-education institutes like IITs, IIMs and AIIMS. It also provides reservation to all OBCs, including the creamy layer.
The medicos and students have suspended the agitation as the bill has been sent to the standing committee. The bill, however, exempts from the ambit of reservation 17 institutes of strategic importance and research, post-doctoral courses and institutions in tribal areas referred to in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
The bill that was earlier presented before the cabinet had excluded creamy layer from quota beneficiaries but was revised after the cabinet decided to give reservation to all OBCs. The bill says, "OBCs means the class or classes of citizens who are socially and educationally backward, and are so determined by the Centre."
In the House, RJD member D.P. Yadav pointed out discrepancies regarding creamy layer in the Hindi and English versions of the bill. While the Hindi version excluded creamy layer, there was no mention of creamy layer in the English version. Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.R. Dasmunsi clarified that Hindi version would be corrected and the OBC definition in the English version was the right one.
The bill empowers central statutory bodies to allow seats in institutes to be increased so that general seats need not be reduced.
These bodies will also decide the road map to implement 27 per cent OBC reservation in each institution within three years -- depending on the resources of each institution. The law will be applicable from calendar year 2007 and for academic year 2007-08.
Section 2 (j) empowers the government to notify any branch of study in three principal levels of qualification -- bachelor, master's and doctoral level -- under the reservation regime. The subjects include agricultural and allied sciences, architecture, dentistry, engineering, law, management, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, technology and veterinary science. The 17 exempted institutes have been listed in the schedule of the bill and the government will have powers to exempt any institute of national and strategic importance.
On the financial implications of the bill, the ministry said clause 5 made provision for a mandatory increase of seats in central educational institutions over a period of three years but it might not be possible to quantify the financial requirement at this stage. However, the Veerappa Moily committee has estimated that Rs 16,500 crore will be required to implement OBC reservation. The money will be provided from the Consolidated Fund of India.
The standing committee is expected to submit its recommendations in the winter session. While introducing the bill, Singh termed the day as "historic" as it was for the first time that law to implement quota was being introduced.
"The bill will protect them (SC/ST/OBC) from social injustice," said Singh in statement of objects and reasons for introducing the bill.
Some members, however, objected to minority education institutions being exempted from reservation. V. Radhakrishnan of the CPM said the exemption created a problem in Kerala, where 95 per cent of higher-education institutions are run by minority communities.