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With no clear guidelines, Bihar universities struggle with 10% EWS quota

In Bihar, the implementation of 10% quota for students from economically weaker sections (EWS) in colleges and universities is proving to be a jigsaw puzzle. Institutes in the state have got no clear guidelines on seat increase — and even if they had, teaching position vacancies and infrastructure would make such an increase difficult — so they are forced to take a slice out of general category seats.

The general category was already only 50%, what with various other quotas adding up to 50%, and now with 10% more going to the EWS quota, this category further shrinks to 40%, leading to more difficulties for meritorious general category students who want to get into a good college or university.

Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar had earlier announced that the EWS quota would be implemented from the 2019-20 academic session in 40,000 colleges and 900 universities across India, without affecting the existing quotas and general category seats, by increasing 25% seats in the institutions of higher education. Central government institutions are doing this with a new seat count after the increase.

During the passage of the Bihar quota bill in the Bihar legislature, chief minister Nitish Kumar had said that the 10% quota for the poor among the hitherto uncovered sections was being given without tampering with the existing reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, and Extremely Backward Classes. There is a 3% Physically Handicapped quota that is spread across all these other quotas.

However, the tricky part is that the state government, while shielding the existing quotas, has not taken a decision on any increase over and above the currently permitted seat strength in each branch of study. That leaves institutes with no choice but to let the new quota eat into the general category.

Amir Subhani, principal secretary, general administration department (GAD), said that the state government had issued a notification for implementation of the new quota, but it was for the department of education to take a call on seat increase.

The department of education, on the other hand, asked the universities to give 10% quota from the existing 50% quota cap as per a roster. The roster was hitherto applied to jobs, but for the first time, it is being applied to admissions. Its applicability is still under a cloud, as many departments or faculty have just 20 or 30 seats, while the roster is 100-

point.

The universities had earlier given the 10% EWS quota, announced in January, a complete miss while advertising for admissions. Patna University reopened the admission portal to give EWS students a chance to apply, but without specifying how they would be accommodated. Other universities are in a wait-and-watch mode to emulate what the first one does.

PU vice-chancellor RB Prasad Singh said that under the prevailing arrangement, the open seats of general category would come down to 40%, as there had been no direction on increasing seats. “To accommodate the 10% EWS quota, we reopened the admission portal to give the candidates a chance to apply. Now all admissions will be as per the roster,” he added.

Another confusion is regarding the increase in quota for the Physically Handicapped category from 3% to 5% (spread across other quotas), but how this would be accommodated in the existing calculation is something even the department of education officials are not sure about. There is another 35% reservation for women, which is distributed among all the categories and reflects in the roster also. This means 14 seats must be earmarked for women even in the 40% open general category.

Munger University VC Ranjit Kumar Verma said that he had gone by the roster, but without increasing the intake, the open general category seats were bound to be affected. “There is a lot of confusion regarding implementation and no clarity. The government has sent the roster for admissions to deflect attention, but it is a fact that the quota percentage will be affected in all categories if the number of seats remains the same,” said Randhir Kumar Singh, president of the PU Teachers’ Association.

First Published:
Jun 25, 2019 08:48 IST

Article source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/education/with-no-clear-guidelines-bihar-universities-struggle-with-10-ews-quota/story-FZRBbd4OsUGBPpr9R2HWvK.html

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