The AAP-led Delhi Assembly session, which began on June 28th and has been extended till July 3rd, has unanimously passed a resolution for 85% reservation for city students in government-funded University of Delhi colleges, with all the MLAs committed to bringing this issue to the fore.
The Assembly has also adopted a resolution which seeks to amend the Delhi University Act (1992) which currently allows no other university in Delhi to give affiliation to colleges. Both the resolutions have been passed in light of the struggles endured by the 2 lakh plus students in the city in getting admission in higher education institutions.
Resolution for 85% reservation for Delhi students
On Thursday, the Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia lobbied for the students who had passed Class 12th from the capital and said they should be given a quota in 28 colleges which are fully and partially funded by the Delhi government. “Many of these students are struggling to get admission in higher education institutions. The money of taxpayers from Delhi is being used to fund these colleges. And it is our responsibility to safeguard the interest of Delhi students. We will meet the HRD minister, L-G and DU Vice-Chancellor to raise this demand,” he said, delineating on the drawback suffered by the city students.
In conversation with a popular national daily, advisor to Sisodia, Atishi Marlena, said, “Out of 63 DU colleges, the Delhi government funds 28 colleges, partially or fully. Around 2.5 lakh students pass out from Delhi schools every year and only 28,000 of them are able to secure a seat in DU colleges.”
The colleges which come under funding by the government are as follows:
Sisodia emphasised on the efforts made to execute the reservation policy, informing that the government had written several letters to the Union HRD Minister which could not materialise, as the University is centrally funded by the University Grants Commission. Both the resolutions have now been passed by the Assembly as a consensual decision, and it has been clarified that the Delhi government does not endorse regionalism through this decision. “If this administration cannot give 85% reservation, it can at least give relaxation of 5-10% in the cut-off marks to Delhi students,” he added.
The decision will tacitly impact thousands of outstation candidates who aspire to enrol in the University every year. “Trying to ghettoise DU is another belligerent move by the Delhi government, which will not only affect the outstation students but the entire education system. DU is a central university, so it is almost impossible that it will ever turn into a reality. Moreover, a university like DU which has been the home of young and intellectual minds from all over the nation for more than 100 years must not select talent on the basis of domicile now. AAP must realise that the ability to accommodate so much diversity is the biggest strength of DU and that makes DU what it is today,” says Mandeep Singh, a second-year student at the University of Delhi. Probing the duality of the issue, the implementation will grant preference to students from the city, thus proving advantageous to them. Siddhi Jain, a third-year student at the University says, “The issue of reservation of local students in a central varsity is a contentious one, especially given how popular the University of Delhi is. As a Delhi student, I feel there should be a certain quota of reservation for domiciles of Delhi, even if it is not as high as 85%. In general, I strongly advocate betterment of universities, state or central, in all regions of India, to (i) prevent so much competition due to flocking of all states’ students to DU, and (ii) give some relief in terms of different moderation policies of different boards.”
“The idea is appealing, but I don’t exactly support it. It is sort of undemocratic because every institution cannot be made exclusive like that. Moreover, DU is a renowned and sought after University. In this case, I feel Ambedkar University can be expanded,” says Sukanya Khar, a Delhi-domicile candidate studying in the varsity.
The response from the educationists has also been majorly sceptical, who have brought the underlining issues to the fore. Saikat Ghosh, a member of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association, believes that the resolution passed would negate the accessibility of the central University. He says, “The suggestion is preposterous. DU is a central University meant to be open to all students of the nation regardless of region or state domicile. The argument that 28 colleges of DU are funded by Delhi residents is also a fallacious half-truth. Not all Delhi tax-payers have Delhi state domicile. Additionally, most of the Delhi government’s revenue is through indirect taxes which non-Delhiites also contribute majorly to. The resolution passed in the Delhi Assembly is a ridiculous gimmick.”
Resolution for amending the Delhi University Act (1992)
The Section 5, Sub-section 2 of the Act has been proposed to be changed. It currently states:
“5. (2) Notwithstanding anything in any other law for the time being in force, no educational institution within the afore-mentioned limits shall be associated in any way with or be admitted to any privileges of any other University incorporated by law in India, and any such privileges granted by any such other University to any educational institution within those limits prior to the commencement of this Act shall be deemed to b withdrawn on the commencement of this Act:
Provided that the Central Government may order in writing, direct that the provisions of this sub-section shall now apply in the case of any institution specified in order.
Provided further that provisions of this sub-section shall not apply in the case of any educational institution affiliated to the Indraprastha Vishwavidyalaya incorporated under the Indraprastha Vishwavidyalaya Act, 1998.”
The House has voted to add a second provision to this Act, which shall read:
“Provided further that provisions of this sub-section shall not apply in the case of any educational institution affiliated to the State Universities in Delhi, which are presently existing or may be set-up in the future.”
By adopting this resolution, the government plans to increase the number of higher education institutions in Delhi in order to meet the requirement of the student populace. The road to this can be paved by amending the Delhi University Act (1992), which will grant more options to those pursuing higher education.
In the past, efforts have been made by Congress and top leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi unit to demand a certain preference for the city students. BJP MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa is a strong advocate of this issue and expressed the urgency to address it. “This is an important issue and all MLAs should demand reservation for city students cutting across their political and ideological differences. The Delhi government can also set up a college which is only for Delhi students,” he said at the Assembly.
Currently this resolution has only been passed in the Delhi legislative assembly and has no explicit legal backing. It needs to be approved by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development and then passed as a law to be legally implemented.