Mumbai, May 2 (UNI) Medical and engineering students here today held a protest ''dharna'' at Azad Maidan against the proposed increase in quota for backward classes in higher educational institutions aided by the Government.
The students from Nair, J J, KEM hospitals, IIT Mumbai and VJTI came together on a platform ''Youth for Equality'' to express their displeasure over the proposed move to hike the number of reserved seats.
A press release issued by the forum said IITs have an intake of around 5000 students and increasing reservations by 27 per cent would cause 1350 deserving students from the general category to lose out on IIT education. Similar effects would filter down to all educational institutions in India. This would leave deserving students no option but either to seek undergraduate education abroad or in the absence of adequate monetary resources settle for a lot less than what they deserve.
The release further stated, ''The Government has neglected implementation of existing policies to promote social equality.
Primary education is neglected. Facilities for education at higher level are both insufficient and poor. It is only through the strengthening of grassroot educational infrastructure that needy sections of the society can adequately avail of higher education and benefit.'' According to the students, the existing system needs to be objectively reviewed and its effect statistically proved before suggesting or implementing any new policy changes. Such policy changes benefit only the ''creamy layers'' of the reserved categories and will not reach to the intended beneficiaries. ''As much as 49.5 per cent reservation will not benefit the needy. The proposal is an attempt at misleading the people and the students will vehemently oppose it,'' the release added.
It said the Government should stop playing ''vote bank politics'' and realise its responsibility to empower marginalised communities with good primary education, better infrastructure and opportunities so that they may compete with the ''so called upper castes''.
''As members of the student community, we urge the nation to raise its voice so that it may be heard above the din of political hogwash and their attempts to divide us on grounds of casteism,'' the release said.
UNI MR MAZ RL ND2022