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Raising number of seats is an option to provide OBC quota

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 17 (UNI) Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh today assured the Lok Sabha that the government is considering various options, including raising the number of seats in premier institutions such as IITs and IIMs, to provide reservation for OBC students and protect the interests of all sections.

Replying to a debate on a calling attention motion, moved by Mr Santosh Gangwar (BJP) and others, the Minister said there was no delay on the part of the government in announcing its new policy.

The government was unable to go ahead on the issue due to the model code of conduct which was in force during the assembly elections in five states, he said and observed it was an entirely different matter whether the proposed reservation fell within the purview of the code as Parliament had unanimously amended the Constitution.

Appealing to the members not to be under any illusion on the subject, Mr Arjun Singh said the government would ''like to take everyone along and try to protect the interests of all the affected parties. We have shown our resolve and we will continue to do it.''

Pointing out that the government could not take a decision on such matters ''within 24 hours'', Mr Arjun Singh clarified that ''as far as the Constitutional amendment regarding reservations passed by this House (is concerned), we are not going back. If there is some tension simmering in society, we will try to sort out.'' Rejecting the allegation that UPA Ministers were speaking in different voices on the issue, he said, ''We don't speak in different voices. There are no differences.'' Acknowledging that medical students had a right to express their dissent and go on agitation, the Minister said the government was against any use of force to suppress their voice.

Without taking any names, he said an attempt was being made to create an illusion and spread canards on the issue to create tension.

Earlier, in a statement, he said the Constitution (93rd Amendment) Act, 2005 came into force on January 20, 2006. By inserting a new clause (5) in Article 15 of the Constitution, this amendment had enabled the state to make special provisions by law for the advancement of the SCs, the STs and any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens also known as the OBCs in matters of their admission to all educational institutions, including aided or unaided private educational institutions, except minority educational institutions established under Article 30 (1) of the Constitution.


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