The Centre has slammed the CPM-led state government for not implementing the OBC quota in higher education. In a letter to the chief minister last month,V Hanumantha Rao,the convenor of the parliamentary OBC forum of MPs,asked the state to consider the issue of representation of backward classes in higher education.
Even though the matter relating to providing reservation to backward classes in higher education including medical and engineering has been under discussion for years in your government but so far no order has been passed, the letter said. It also stressed on the revision of income ceiling to Rs 4.5 lakh per annum so that the benefit can be extended to a larger section of the OBCs.
Rao also enclosed a letter of Ashok Sarkar,the secretary of the Officers Association of the OBCs in West Bengal,in this regard and government orders of other states over the implementation of OBC reservation.
In the West Bengal Assembly,a Bill was passed twice,in 2003 and 2004,providing 7 per cent reservation to the OBCs in higher education but the cabinet is yet to give a nod on the issue.
At present,the state provides only 7 per cent reservation to OBCs till higher secondary stage and there is no reservation in higher education. In 2002,the standing committee on SC,ST and OBC welfare,with representation from higher education department,had advised the state government to implement the OBC reservation.
As per the recommendations of the Mondal Commission,most of the states have implemented the OBC reservation in higher education. In states like Tamil Nadu,the reservation is as high as 50 per cent. In Bihar it is 33 per cent and 27 per cent in UP and MP.
In 2008,the Supreme Court also upheld the Centres decision of providing 27 per cent quota for OBCs in IITs and IIMs.
Since 2001 the issue has been raised in the state Assembly at least 10 times but each time the minister of backward class welfare department and the minister of higher education said the matter is under active consideration, said Ashok Sarkar.
Minister for Backward Classes Welfare Department Jogesh Burman said: We have not yet fixed the percentage of OBC reservation in higher education. Discussions are on in this regard.