State inching towards EWS quota for students

Panaji: The government on Monday maintained that it is in the process of implementing reservations for students in the state under the economically weaker section subcategory.

“The central government has directed us that these reservations can be implemented within a period of three years, and the academic year 2020-21 is second such year,” a senior government official told ‘The Navhind Times’, adding that the EWS quota need to be implemented by the academic year 2021-22.

EWS is a subcategory of people belonging to the general category and having an annual family income less than Rs 8 lakh. On January 7, 2019, the Centre had approved 10 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the economically weaker section in the general category.

It was decided that this would be over and above the existing 50 per cent reservations.

The senior official said the implementation of the EWS quota would require increase in the number of seats in professional colleges, while those in the non-professional, undergraduation colleges need not be hiked.

“As of now, no student is turned away from admission in the non-professional, undergraduate college, as there are adequate seats available in these colleges,” the senior official added, pointing out that under such circumstances, it would not be right to allow such colleges in urban areas to increase their seats.

“That is because if the non-professional, undergraduate colleges in urban area increase their seats then students from such colleges in rural areas will rush to urban areas,” he noted.

“On the other hand, if the professional colleges want to increase their seats then they need to obtain such a permission from the bodies to which they are affiliated, like say medical colleges need to seek consent of the Medical Council of India, engineering colleges from All India Council of Technical Education, teachers training colleges from National Council of Educational Research and Training, and so on,” the senior official added, maintaining that to implement 10 per cent reservations under the EWS, the colleges, on an average, need to increase their seats by at least 25 per cent. The Maharashtra government has issued a notification to colleges and educational institutions to implement the EWS quota from this academic year, even without increasing the student intake for their programmes and courses.

Principal of the Govind Ramnath Kare College of Law Dr Saba Da Silva told this daily that implementing the EWS reservations would mean additional supernumerary seats to accommodate entry of the students, who would be the beneficiaries under this category.

“And for that we would need the permission of the Bar Council of India, which governs the law colleges in the country,” he added.

Da Silva said, “Nevertheless, there is a 99 per cent chance that we are going for implementation the EWS reservations this time, provided there are applicants for the same.”

Principal of the V M Salgaocar College Dr M R K Prasad stated that he is soon going to discuss with the higher education director the implementation of the EWS quota in his college.

“We want to implement the EWS reservations in the college at the earliest and are positive about it, as the same has been brought about by a constitutional amendment,” he added, informing that the state government has however not communicated any information about the same, to his college.

As on date, vertical reservation percentage in Goa is 2 per cent for scheduled castes, 12 per cent for scheduled tribes, and 27 per cent for other backward classes, while horizontal reservation is 4 per cent for persons with disabilities, 2 per cent for ex-serviceman and 3 per cent for children of freedom fighters, which overall comes to 50 per cent.

Incidentally, the Supreme Court had ruled in 1992 that reservations could not exceed 50 per cent; anything above which, it judged, would violate equal access as guaranteed by the Constitution. It thus puts a cap on reservations.

The apex court has also refused to stay the 10 per cent reservations in government jobs and educational institutions for the economically weaker sections. [NT]