With civic polls round the corner,the issue of whether to include provisions for social or caste-based reservations in the Maharashtra Self-Financed Universities (Establishment and Regulation) Act,2011,has taken a backseat.
The Act spells out rules for the establishment of self-financed or private universities in Maharashtra and was passed during the monsoon session of the legislature in August 2011. Several leaders had opposed it,saying that it does not mandate adherence to social or caste reservations. Though it was sent to Governor K Sankaranarayanan for his nod,the latter is said to have asked the higher education department to conduct a study of Acts of other states. Higher education department officials were also supposed to brief the Governor on how they were planning to solve the issue,which is yet to be done.
Stating that a final decision will be taken only after a meeting with Sankaranarayanan,sources in the higher education department had said in December that a meeting (with the Governor) will be held at the earliest,sometime in January. However,with ministers busy campaigning in their respective constituencies,officials in the higher education department said that it (the Bill) is currently not on the immediate agenda as election campaign is on in full swing. Sources said a meeting could be scheduled only after the elections.
Sources in the Raj Bhavan confirmed that as of now,no meeting has been planned or scheduled for this month to discuss the issue of reservations in the Bill. Universities in Maharashtra have to set aside 50 per cent seats for various reserved categories. The Act only talks about making special provisions for the weaker sections of society,including women,poor,low income group and domiciled in the state.