The HRD Ministry is learnt to have shared a draft Bill on extending the quota for SCs, STs, OBCs and economically weaker sections (EWS) to all private educational institutions with the Law Ministry last week.
HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar had last week announced the decision to introduce reservation in the private sector from the new academic session starting July.
According to sources, the Unaided Private Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Bill, 2019, will implement what was envisaged by the 93rd amendment and 103rd amendment to the Constitution in 2006 and this year, respectively. Both amendments had introduced a clause enabling the government to extend quota to private institutes.
The HRD Ministry is now awaiting the Law Ministry’s comments on the draft Bill. If the latter finds the draft legally sound, the HRD Ministry will circulate it for inter-ministerial consultation and then seek the Union Cabinet’s approval. However, all this besides the passage of the Bill has to be achieved before February 13, when the Budget session of Parliament concludes.
Student reservation is currently provided in many private institutions, especially medical and engineering colleges, although it is not mandatory under a central law. According to AICTE chairperson Anil Sahasrabuddhe, a majority of its recognised private institutes provide SC/ST/ OBC quota as directed by the state they are located in.
However, there are still many who don’t offer reservation. The government is yet to work out details of how the quota will be rolled out across the private sector. “We are focused on the Bill at this moment,” said a source, who did not wish to be identified.
Private institutions, on the other hand, have been cautious in their reaction to Javadekar’s announcement. “I cannot say anything on this unless we see an official communication from the government,” C Raj Kumar, vice-chancellor of OP Jindal Global University, told The Indian Express.
“The government needs to clarify if, like the 25 per cent EWS reservation in schools under the Right to Education Act, it will reimburse private institutions in higher education for rolling out the EWS quota,” asked the vice-chancellor of another private institution in Sonepat.