Sibal sees no merit in Arjun?s quota | india | Hindustan Times
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Sibal sees no merit in Arjun?s quota

Protesting Delhi medicos may be glad to know that they have a sympathiser in Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal.

india Updated: Apr 29, 2006 18:37 IST

Protesting Delhi medicos may be glad to know that they have a sympathiser in Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal. The students battled the police all day on Wednesday for an opportunity to meet and tell HRD Minister Arjun Singh they did not like his plan to increase quota seats in higher-education institutes, including the IITs and IIMs.

In Hannover, Sibal said: “No policy should be taken which will dilute the levels of excellence in our research and development and ed ucational institutions at a time when western countries are looking at us for excellence.” He told reporters on the sidelines of the Hannover Fair that India should not do anything that would either deter or dampen its excellence in R&D. “Nothing should be done that will dampen India’s efforts to compete in the world markets,” he said.

This is what the agitating students wanted to hear from Singh, with medical colleges added to the list of institutes exempted from OBC reservation. They have it instead from Sibal, but does he or his views on the matter count for much? After all, the IITs and IIMs do not report to him or his ministry. They are Singh’s responsibility and he will probably have his way.

But if Sibal wants, and is allowed to have his say, he can create problems for Singh. Several projects in the IITs and IIMs are supported by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Department of Science and Technology, and Department of Biotechnology — all under him. And they can turn off the tap on his instructions, if he wants.

Sibal’s statement comes days after Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath’s remarks here — also on the quota issue, but as proposed for the private sector. He had said his new industrial policy, to be put before the cabinet in six weeks, would obviate the need for reservations in the private sector.

Sources said the policy would address the problems of unemployment and backwardness through subsidies and financial incentives.

The Hindustan Times had first reported on Singh’s move to take the level of reservation in educational institutions from the existing 27 per cent to 49 per cent as recommended by the Mandal commission. He had used the phrase ‘Mandal Model’ to describe his initiative.