Demand for reservation in new bill
Delegation proposes places be reserved in private universities for
weaker sections of society
By Pamela Raghunath, Correspondent
Published: 00:00 August 25, 2011
Mumbai: A delegation led by Republican Party of India (A) president
Ramdas Athawale met Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranaryanan yesterday
and demanded that some places be reserved for weaker segments of
society in self-financed private universities.
The delegation told the Governor that the Self-financed Universities
Bill recently passed by the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly did not
provide for constitutional safeguards to the weaker sections,
including Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Vimukta Jati
and Nomadic Tribes (VJNT) and other backward classes (OBC), guaranteed
by the Constitution of India.
Athawale demanded private and unaided universities should ensure
reserved spaces for the weaker sections of society, as the provisions
of the Maharashtra Universities' Act 1994 also did not reflect this.
The new bill is meant to promote higher education and encourage
participation by the private sector in setting up self-financed
universities in the state. This step has been taken by other states
like Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat and Karnataka.
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Though this move will not put a financial burden on the state
exchequer, Athwale earlier alleged that the passing of the bill in
haste indicated that the state government was working under the
pressure of education barons and industrialists.
Many politicians of Maharashtra are education tycoons who have built
an empire but there remains a shortage of seats in medical,
engineering and technical courses. This forces students to pay very
high prices to be admitted.
The delegation also told the Governor that the decision-making
authorities of the self-financed universities including the governing
body should have representation of SC, ST, and OBCs.
Athawale also wants private universities to be brought under the
control of the University Grants Commission and Human Resources
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