The Centre on Thursday announced 10% reservation to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in the all-India quota seats of the state-run medical and dental colleges that is already available in the Centrally-funded institutions like the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University and Banaras Hindu University.
This reservation, effective from the current academic year of 2021-22, will be in addition to 49.5% of seats in education and government appointments reserved with 15%, 7.5% and 27% quota for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Classes (OBCs), respectively.
Around 550 EWS students in MBBS and around 1,000 EWS students in post-graduation will benefit every year from the move initiated under the 103rd Constitution Amendment Act of 2019, inserting Article 15(6) and 16(6) to provide for the EWS reservation for advancement of any economically weaker section of society. As per the Act, this EWS reservation up to 10% can be made in any educational institution, including both aided and unaided private institutions, except the minority educational institutions covered under Article 30(1). Article 15(6) relates to admissions in higher education and Article 16(6) to government employment.
No explanation, however, came forth on the announcement of 27% seats to the OBCs, who already enjoy the reservation and did not amount to any new benefit. The official announcement, however, said extension of the quota to the state colleges will benefit around 1,500 OBC students in MBBS and 2,500 post-graduate OBC students every year.
The EWS reservation is, however, under consideration of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court separately, according to a reply in the Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Social Justice Pratima Bhoumik while clarifying that the judgment striking down the Maratha quota has not impacted the EWS reservation.
The Centre had on its own sought review of the judgment on the Maratha reservation, without involving the Maharashtra government, but its petition was struck down on the ground that all the issues raised by it have been already dealt with in the judgment by the Constitution Bench.
PM LAUDS: Even Prime Minister Modi laid stress in a series of tweets on extending 27% reservation to the OBCs that they already enjoy. He hailed it as a landmark decision. He added, “This will immensely help thousands of our youth every year get better opportunities and create a new paradigm of social justice in our country.”
The move would benefit many candidates appearing in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Undergraduate (NEET-UG) 2021.
The official statement said the decision is in sync with the significant reforms carried out in the field of medical education since 2014. During the last six years, MBBS seats in the country have increased by 56 per cent from 54,348 seats in 2014 to 84,649 seats in 2020 and the number of PG seats have increased by 80 per cent from 30,191 seats in 2014 to 54,275 seats in 2020. During the same period, 179 new medical colleges have been established and now the country has 558.
The All-India Quota (AIQ) seats in medicine were created on the direction of the Supreme Court in 1984, though it was silent on a separate quota for EWS. All states were required to surrender 15% undergraduate and 50% postgraduate medical and dental seats in state-run colleges to a “central pool” with the rest going to a “state pool”. The “central pool” is the AIQ and students across the country are eligible to apply for admissions against this.
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