Quota move gives students the jitters

With their share of seats in premiere institutions under threat, upper caste students have become a restive lot.

india Updated: Apr 09, 2006 12:47 IST

With their share of seats in elite institutions under threat, students have become a restive lot and the academic community is in turmoil over the controversial move to reserve seats in Central Universities, IITs and IIMs which has revived the 'merit vs quota' debate in the country.

HRD Minister Arjun Singh's latest move to reserve another 27 per cent seats in 20 Central universities and IIMs, IITs and NITs following the 'Mandal formula' has sent shivers down sections of students belong to the upper castes.

The proposal, which is before the Union Cabinet, if implemented, would lead to a total reservation of 49.5 per cent, drastically reducing the chances of students in the "general" category.

One estimate puts it that the seats in Delhi University for the general category could be reduced by over 13,700 from the total of over 35,300 seats.

Similarly, the move to hike reservations in IITs, where entry is tough, is expected to result in a cut of nearly 1,330 seats in the general category.

Admitting that the proposal would reduce intake of students unless the seats are increased, faculty members of IIM-A felt that the step would "adversely affect" the qualityof the premier institutes.

However, protagonists of the move say the proposal was long overdue for the socially deprived classes, who had been kept out of the mainstream for ages.

First Published: Apr 09, 2006 12:47 IST