Students suffer as Maratha quota plan gets stuck

  • Shreya Bhandary, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Mar 27, 2016 23:37 IST

It’s been more than a year since the state government introduced reservations for Marathas in education and government job sectors. While the Bombay high court (HC) stayed the quota and the government hopes to get permissions to implement the reservation, students who sought admissions in 2014-15 under the reservation expecting concessions have been asked to pay full fees for their courses.

Recently, the state government asked University of Mumbai to give them data about the number of students were admitted under the quota. The data reveals that 35,187 students were admitted in 132 aided colleges under 50 departments. With the fate of the reservation still unclear, thousands of students are now forced to either pay the full fees or are not been allowed to appear for examinations, while many have also sought admissions in lesser known institutes in order to afford the annual fees.

“I got my daughter admitted to a private institute only because with our caste certificate, her admission was being done at Rs10,200 annually. Suddenly by January 2015 the institute demanded for the full fees because they didn’t get any reimbursement from the government, which means I was supposed to shell out Rs80,000 more overnight,” said the father of one of the students studying at a technical institute in Wadala.

Introduction of the Maratha quota made many students apply to reputed colleges not bothering about the fees. While the decision for Maratha quota in educational institutes was introduced in August 2014, the same was approved by the then newly formed BJP government. However, the HC stayed the reservation. Against the HC stay, a Bill stating reservation for the ‘Educationally and Socially Backward Classes’ (ESBS) was introduced by the state government at the assembly in December 2014, but till date, there’s no clarification on its existence.

State education minister Vinod Tawde told HT that various government departments and the university was asked to reveal information on how many people benefitted from the Maratha quota, in order to produce the same in court. “Even though there is a stay on admissions under the Maratha quota, the government had made it very clear that those who were admitted under the quota in 2014-15 will retain their seats and the same provisions will cover the student till the completion of their degree,” said Tawde. He added that reimbursement for colleges is still pending with the social welfare department and should be released once the confusion over the quota is clear

Meanwhile, colleges who have already given admission to students under the quota are still waiting to hear from the Directorate of Higher and Technical Education or the government, to get a clear picture on the reimbursements. “How can we allow students to study at such low fees when we are not getting any reimbursement for the same? Couple of students also sought transfer certificates to aided institutes, in order to be able to pay the fees. Ours is a private engineering institute, so we have to depend on the fees to function,” said a member of the management of an Andheri based engineering institute.

However, at Vidyalankar Institute of Technology, no admissions from 2014-15 have been cancelled. “Whatever is applicable to all students, the same rules are applicable to students who had sought admissions under the Maratha quota. We are yet to receive any intimation from the government,” said Varsha Bhosle, vice-principal of the institute.

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