//Cabinet clears OBC quota bill

Cabinet clears OBC quota bill

Monday, August 21st, 2006

New Delhi – The central cabinet Monday decided to introduce a bill in parliament to provide 27 percent reservation for other backward classes (OBCs) in government-aided institutes of higher education.

‘The cabinet has cleared the draft bill for introducing OBC quota in institutes of higher education,’ Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told reporters after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The bill will be introduced in the ongoing monsoon session of parliament that concludes Friday.

The ‘creamy layer’ among the OBCs will not benefit from this reservation and the general category students will not be affected, said official sources.

‘There is a scope for staggered implementation of this quota but final details are yet to be worked out in this regard,’ the sources said.

In its two-and-a-half-hour meeting, the cabinet deliberated on the draft legislation prepared by the human resource development (HRD) ministry.

‘Various aspects of the bill including its financial implications were discussed in the meeting. There was general consensus that the bill would go a long way in fulfilling the commitment of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to the backward castes,’ the sources said.

The draft bill has been prepared on the basis of the recommendations of an Oversight Committee headed by former Karnataka chief minister and senior Congress leader M. Veerappa Moily.

The bill would cover institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).

‘The cabinet nod has paved the way for implementing the OBC quota in these institutions from the next academic session,’ a senior HRD ministry official said.

The government hopes that the bill would not face any hurdle in parliament as most political parties are expected to support it, the sources said.

A separate draft bill introducing 27 percent quota for OBCs in the unaided institutions is likely to be introduced at a later stage. The draft of this second piece of legislation was being finalised by the HRD ministry, the ministry official said.

The second draft bill would be taken up once the Moily committee comes out with a roadmap for implementing OBC quota system in unaided institutions, the official said.