//27% OBC quota to be implemented: UPA, Left

27% OBC quota to be implemented: UPA, Left

NEW DELHI, MAY 23 (PTI)

The UPA coordination committee and the Left Parties tonight decided to implement the 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in higher educational institution in letter and spirit.

"The percentage of reservation for OBCs will be fixed at 27 per cent. Legislation for this purpose will be brought in Parliament in the monsoon session." Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters after a three-hour meeting.

Mukherjee said that after the law is passed by Parliament, reservation for OBCs will be implemented in central education institutions from the academic session commencing from June 2007.

Mukherjee said that keeping in view the interests of all sections of the students community and to meet their aspirations for opportunities for higher education, the number of seats in educational institutions under the purview of the central government will be increased.

A resolution to this effect was adopted at the meeting of the UPA Coordination Committee and Left parties.

An Oversight Committee will be constituted to draw up a time-bound roadmap for implementing these decisions, the Defence Minister said, adding that smaller groups consisting of Deans, Directors and Vice Chancellors of the institutions concerned will be set up to work out details for each class of institutions.

The Oversight Committee will put together the recommendations of these groups and submit a comprehensive report by August 31 this year.

Mukherjee said the UPA Coordination Committee and Left parties resolved that the 93rd Amendment to the Constitution, providing for reservations in educational institutions, will be implemented by the central government in letter and spirit.

Pro-reservation Mahapanchayat gives govt 'ultimatum' on quota

NEW DELHI, MAY 22 (PTI)

Hundreds of pro-reservation activists, including students and farmers, from different states held a Mahapanchayat here today, giving an `ultimatum' to the government to implement 27 per cent quota for OBCs in elite educational institutions within 90 days.

In a show of strength, students from several universities, including Allahabad, Delhi, Patna, Jawaharlal Nehru University as well as some medical students from the capital's Maulana Azad Medical College, converged at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium in support of the government's proposal to introduce reservation for OBCs.

The activists were carrying placards with messages like `Opportunity breeds equality', `Give space to nurture our talent' and `remove frustration, promote education' "Reservation is our Constitutional right and no government can stop us from getting it," former UP Minister Ashok Yadav, convenor of the Mahapanchayat, said.

The government has to implement within three months' time the reservation for OBCs and if it fails to do so, lakhs of people across the country will hit the streets, he added.

Hailing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for appointing a three-member ministerial committee on the issue, he said, "Knowledge Commission's Sam Pitroda and Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi are trying to scuttle the reservation move" and demanded their expulsion from the government and the party respectively.

"We will expose such leaders who are against reservation," he said.

As many as 125 MPs belong to the OBCs, he pointed out and said, "they can decide who will be the Prime Minister of the country." Flaying the anti-reservation agitation of the medical students and doctors, he said they were in a minority and the government has to listen to the voice of the OBCs, who have a sizeable population.

"So far we were silent on the issue. Now we won't remain silent anymore. This is just a trailer of what we are capable of doing if the government fails to implement the reservation," Yadav said.

Cracks appear in IMA, medicos continue strike
NEW DELHI, MAY 23 (PTI)

Despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's appeal, medicos continued their strike for the 12th day today even as cracks appeared in the doctors' apex body with those belonging to backward classes setting up a separate organisation backing the government's quota proposal.

Doctors of the backward classes walked out of the Indian Medical Association to float the Indian National Medical Association, claiming it to be an "apolitical" group and dealing a blow to striking doctors.

After two days of hectic parleys with government representatives and an equal number of appeals from the Prime Minister failed to end the strike, the agitating doctors held a meeting among themselves on the developments.

The doctors have softened their stand from a complete rollback of the 27 per cent quota proposals to putting the plans on hold till a committee of experts reviews the existing reservation policy.

Government has not given any indication of accepting the demand but has sounded the students about increasing the number of seats for the general category in proportion to the hike in OBC quotas.

In Delhi, Resident Doctors, faculty members and support staff of the Hindu Rao Hospital observed a 24-hour strike from today in support of the anti-quota agitation.

They also took out a rally to Raj Niwas and submitted a memorandum to Lt Governor.

In Mumbai, two rival student groups of Indian Institute of Technology are on indefinite hunger strike in favour of and against the Centre's proposed 27 per cent quota for OBCs in institutes of higher learning.

In Rajkot, medical services at various hospitals were affected after anti-reservation doctors started a two-day strike.

Doctors at Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay (PDU) Medical College Hospital, Civil Hospital and other municipal corporation-run hospitals proceeded on a two-day strike, sources from the Junior Doctors Associations said.

In Ahmedabad, medical students and doctors decided to step-up their anti-reservation agitation by going on an indefinite hunger strike from tomorrow.

In Chennai, students announced they would hold peaceful demonstration all over the country on May 25.

In Kolkata, the fast by anti-quota students entered the fifth day today with more participation from non-technical institutions.

Pro-quota demonstrations were held in Chennai and Delhi with CPI forming a human chain in the Tamil Nadu capital demanding an oridnance to implement 27 per cent quota proposal.

In Delhi, Pattali Makkal Katchi MPs took out a rally at Jantar Mantar demanded the government immediately bring an ordinance to implement the proposal for OBC quota in elite educational institutions.

Delhi government also issued termination notices to striking doctors.

Now, pro-reservation demonstrators intensify their stir

New Delhi/Chennai/Bhubaneswar: As the anti-reservation protests brew in various cities of the country, pro-reservation students too have taken the issue for implementation of Centre's plan for 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Castes students.

Junior doctors supporting the reservation under the banner "Medico's Forum for Equal Opportunity", staged a silent protest today outside All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in New Delhi.

The Forum maintained that anti-reservation protests were an outcome of chauvinism of the upper castes and demanded implementation of the Central Government's plan.

"Our agenda is equal opportunity be provided to all the sections of the society for quality education, such that the bogus slogan of merit be abolished all together. Merit is not genetically inherited, it is provided by the society," said Vikas Bajpayee, Convener of Medicos Forum for Equal Opportunit
ies.

Meanwhile, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), a partner in the ruling United Progressive Government at Centre, rallied in support of the plan and asked the government to bring an ordinance to implement the plan.

"I will press the government to bring the ordinance immediately. I am going to raise this point. It is a burning issue. Other backward Classes should be given equal opportunity. This was the Kelkar Committee in 1950 that suggested 70 percent reservation for OBC in the educational institutions. After that, Mandal Commission recommended reservation in 1980. But it wasn't implemented. V.P Singh introduced first part of Mandal Commission that is 27 percent reservation in the year 1990," said S. Ramadoss, founder Chief of PMK at a news conference in Chennai.

Meanwhile, in Bhubaneswar, medical students took to streets in their continuation agitation against reservations.

"We want 0 percent reservation and 100 percent competition for all the students .Let them upbring their talent and come to the forefront by using their talent and not under any category," said Lipsa Dash, an agitating medico.

The government has proposed an extra 27 per cent quota in the country' state-run medical, engineering and business schools for the OBC students.

At present, government-funded colleges have to allocate 22.5 percent of their seats to scheduled castes and tribal students.

OBC quota should not be implemented uniformly in all states: CPM

KOLKATA, MAY 23 (PTI)

The CPI-M, a supporter of reservation, today demanded the proposed quantum of quota for OBCs in elite educational institutions should not be implemented uniformly in the country as the OBC population varied from state to state.

"The proposed quantum of quota (27 percent) cannot be implemented in all the 28 states uniformly as there are variations in the OBC population. The quantum of quota for them cannot be the same in all states," CPI(M) Politburo member Biman Bose told reporters here.

Bose, also secretary of the West Bengal state committee of the party, said CPI(M) was against quota in existing seats in educational institutions but said that before implementing it for OBCs there should be commensurate increase in seats.

He said his party also stuck to its stand for introduction of the creamy layer concept in quota for Other Backward Classes in higher education to ensure that benefits reached the needy.

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