Admissions to Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) across the country under the discretionary quota of the Minister of Human Resource Development (HRD) in 2018-19 have surged more than 20-fold compared to 2014. And admissions to KVs under the Minister’s discretionary quota since 2016 account for more than the total admissions secured through all 790 members from both Houses of Parliament.
This is according to data obtained from the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), which oversees all KVs in the country, by The Indian Express under the Right to Information Act (RTI).
Members of Parliament currently are allowed a maximum of 10 admissions per academic session from their constituency (or state in case of a Rajya Sabha MP), while admissions on the recommendation of the HRD Minister are granted without any limit.
The data also show that during the last academic session of 2018-19, a total of 8,164 admissions were granted through the quota meant for MPs. Compared to this, the number of admissions granted on the recommendation of the HRD Minister was 9,402.
Incidentally, admissions granted through both quotas have accounted for nearly 10 per cent of all new admissions since 2016. But in 2014-15, it was just 2.87% and in 2015-16 it grew to 4.83%.The sharp surge, according to the data, begins in the 2016-17 academic year, when the percentage of admissions under the two quotas rose to 9.26% and then 9.16% in 2017-18.
The Minister of HRD is the ex-officio chairman of the KVS which runs nearly 1,200 schools across the country. As chairman, the minister heads the general body of the KVS and the Board of Governors (BoG).
Santosh Kumar Mall, Commissioner of KVS, said: “There is no maximum limit for admissions on the recommendation of the Hon’ble Minister of HRD. Before granting admission on such recommendations, we only see that the section of the class in which the admission is being recommended should not have more than 50 students.”
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In March 2010 under the UPA-2 government, then HRD Minister Kapil Sibal had scrapped the minister’s discretionary quota as well as that of MPs. But in the wake of an uproar inside and outside Parliament by MPs, the quota was restored after just two months. Sibal, however, did not restore the Minister’s quota which was utilised until 2009-10, before it was scrapped in 2010-11.
When the NDA government assumed power on May 26, 2014, and Smriti Irani took charge of the HRD Ministry, she restored the minister’s quota. While Irani was HRD Minister until July 5, 2016, Javadekar held the post from July 6, 2016, to May 30, 2019. Ramesh Pokhriyal was named HRD Minister in the second Modi government on May 30 this year.
Data show that until March 31, 2015, 450 admissions were granted on her recommendation. This number surged in 2015-16 when 3,587 admissions were granted under the Minister’s recommendation.
Earlier, MPs had quota for only six admissions but the NDA government enhanced this up to 10 in an academic session from 2016-17.