In a major decision, the Centre on Tuesday announced that the HRD Ministry will implement 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker section among the general category from the 2019 academic session and increase around 25 per cent seats in higher educational institutions and universities across the country.
The announcement comes following the Constitutional amendment in Parliament last week to provide 10 per cent reservation to general category poor in jobs and education, with the Government terming the landmark move as “slog over sixes”. President Ram Nath Kovind has also given his assent to the Bill paving way for reservations in the said category. The quota will be over and above the existing 50 per cent reservation to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
Though financial implications are yet to be ascertained after several rounds of meetings, sources said initial estimates reflect that around 10 lakh seats will have to be added in institutions across the country, including Central universities, IITs and IIMs, among other prestigious higher educational institutions.
HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters that the decision was taken at a meeting of officials from the Ministry, University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). He said that the private universities are also ready to implement the quota.
“The reservation will be implemented from the 2019-2020 academic session itself. Nearly 25 per cent seats will be added to ensure that the reservation does not disturb the existing quota for SC, ST and other categories. There are around 40,000 colleges and 900 universities across the country and supernumerary quota will be provided in these,” Javadekar said at a late evening Press conference in this regard.
The Minister, however, did not specify the number of seats which will be added. “The modalities are being worked out and within a week’s time we will have the exact number of seats that will be added. The operation manuals about how to implement the quota will be issued soon. The colleges and universities will also be asked to mention the quota in their prospectus as well and make infrastructural arrangements accordingly,” he added.
The HRD Ministry last week had convened a meeting to work out the modalities to implement 10 per cent reservation for the “economically weaker” sections among general category in higher educational institutions.
As per the All-India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE), 2017-18, the country has a total of 903 universities, over 39,000 colleges and over 10,000 standalone institutions. The proposed reservation will be over and above the existing 50 per cent reservation enjoyed by the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the OBC, and will take the total reservation to 60 per cent. The Bill mandates criteria like an annual income below Rs 8 lakh and not owning more than five acre of agricultural land for those seeking quota benefits.
A senior HRD Ministry official said a separate column/box will be earmarked in the application-cum-admission forms to specify the 10 per cent EWS (General) simultaneously with the existing SC/ST/OBC and General Category.