Wednesday, January 23, 2019

More seats in IITs, IIMs, Delhi University under 10 % quota for economically weak

The new 10% quota for the economically weak will significantly increase admissions to higher education, adding up to three lakh seats in centrally funded institutions - including elite ones like IITs, IIMs and NITs - in two phases over 2019-20 and 2020-21.

The government has also written to the states to implement the quota for "poor among forwards" in state-run institutions which essentially also means an increase of 25% of seats.

By 2021, the number of seats in IITs will increase by over 5,100, while in IIMs it will be around 800. Large universities like Delhi University will add over 16,000 seats while others like Visva Bharati and JNU will have on offer around 822 and 346 more seats respectively.

The present intake in all central government-funded higher educational institutions (HEIs) is around 9.3 lakh seats which includes the IITs, NITs, IISc, IIMs and central universities, central open universities, government colleges, government-aided colleges and deemed universities.

The government introduced reservations for OBCs in higher educational institutions in 2006, with a mandate that 27% seats will be reserved for persons from the backward communities.

In order to ensure that the percentage of seats for other categories are not adversely impacted, seats across HEIs were increased by 54%. The expansion was implemented in phased manner till 2012. The government granted additional funds to the tune of Rs 2,166.89 crore to central universities and Rs 4,227.46 crore to centrally funded technical institutions for accommodating OBC quota.

Many universities, on receiving letters from the MHRD and UGC, have begun preparing their seat matrix and financial requirements. Visva Bharati had convened a meeting of principals to work on the seat requirements on 22 January, 2019.

"It is a positive step to ensure educational opportunity to economically backward sections. Moreover, this will also result in overall increase in seats for other categories as well, which will be a significant expansion of higher education's reach," said Prof Bidyut Chakrabarty, vice chancellor of Visva Bharati.

Chakrabarty said the central government has assured financial assistance, which is a welcome move. Visva Bharati will submit its requirements before January 31.

The government has issued an official memorandum on the quota, as reported by TOI on 21 January, 2019, asking all central educational institutions to compute their needs and implement the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act 2019 to provide reservation for economically weaker sections not covered under the existing scheme. The quota will begin to roll out in the 2019-20 academic session.

Meanwhile, the government is also working on the bylaws for the unaided (private institutions) so that they too can implement the reservation policy. According to the All India Survey on Higher Education, 2017-18, there are 25,383 private affiliated colleges, 343 private universities and 6,700 stand-alone private educational institutes in the country.

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