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7 pvt universities say yes to OBC share

Shubhajit Roy

Posted: Oct 27, 2006 at 0317 hrs IST

Seven private unaided deemed universities, invited by Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh to build a consensus on the OBC reservation policy, today agreed to implement quota in their institutions.

Emerging from a 90-minute meeting, Singh said there was unanimous agreement. ‘‘Everyone was of the view that there should be reservation. They have given their suggestions for its implementation which will now be discussed by the Group of Ministers,’’ he said.

Defending the move to invite a select few universities, HRD officials said ‘‘We couldn’t have called all 60 universities, so we decided to go by regional representation.’’

Those invited today were Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Coimbatore) and Vellore Institute of Technology from Tamil Nadu, Bharati Vidyapeeth and Symbiosis International Education Centre from Maharashtra, Manipal Academy of Higher Education from Karnataka, Noida’s Jaypee Institute of Information Technology from Uttar Pradesh and LNM Institute of Information Technology (Jaipur) from Rajasthan.

Though it was invited, BITS Pilani stayed away and came out with a statement, saying it was not part of the meeting convened by the HRD Ministry. ‘‘BITS, Pilani was invited but could not attend the meeting. In fact, the institute has already submitted a note to the ministry expressing its views on reservation of seats in admissions for the weaker sections,’’said M K Kashiramka, BITS, Pilani Chief Public Relations Officer.

Participating deemed universities gave their approval, but expressed reservations on issues of differential fees and one-time implementation of the quotas. H S Ballal, pro-Vice Chancellor of Manipal Academy of Higher Education said, ‘‘All the institutions cannot implement the reservation in a single year since there are several limitations including shortage of teachers, resources and infrastructure. Freedom (to decide on the issue of fee and seats) to a certain extent is required and we have conveyed this to the minister.”

It is learnt that the deemed university representatives also asked for financial help and other ways of compensation to offset the impact of reservation. BITS Pilani, however, was firm as it emphasised that “merit” should be the only criteria to admit students, adding that coaching for the marginalised is an option.

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