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No going back on 27% quota for OBCs: Arjun

Last updated on: May 16, 2006 12:48 IST
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There will be no going back on the proposed 27 percent reservation for OBCs, said Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh, in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

The government will also consider increasing the number of seats in institutes of higher education, he added.

Singh is in the eye of a storm of protests against this move, which will take the reservation quota to 49.5 percent. It will be applicable in 20 central universities, the Indian Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institutes of Management and at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

Singh also dismissed allegations of a 'personal agenda' being pushed by him on the issue and said the government was committed to implementation of the Constitutional Amendment providing for quota for OBCs in elite educational institutions.

"A canard is being spread by a certain section of the people that objective of this government and this House (Lok Sabha) is being hijacked by me as my personal agenda," Singh said during question hour in the Lok Sabha.

"I want to assure the House and everybody that the United Progressive Alliance government and I, as its servant, will see that the 93rd Amendment of the Constitution, giving reservation to SCs/STs and OBCs in private and unaided institutions is implemented," he said.

Referring to the police action on protesters, Singh said, "I do not support it as everybody has a right to place his or her view in a peaceful manner."

He, however, said there could not be any other view on reservation for OBCs in elite educational institutions but the question was how to implement it.

There were several suggestions and the government was looking at them with an open mind and would soon come out with a comprehensive roadmap on the issue, the minister said.

Refusing to give any time-frame for its implementation, he said this was not an issue to take forward or backward a particular section of society but to maintain a balance among all sections.

Singh appealed to the people to think with a cool mind as this was not a matter to get provoked or to indulge in violence. "This will neither help any individual or state," he said.

Complete coverage: The reservation issue

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