With suspense continuing on the OBC quota issue, HRD Minister Arjun Singh on Wednesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on how to go about ensuring the interests of general category students in IIM admissions while protecting the OBC students.
Before his meeting with the prime minister, the HRD minister told reporters that there was a 'qualitative change' in the situation following Supreme Court advancing the hearing on the quota issue by three months.
Accepting the Centre's plea, the Apex Court had on Tuesday decided to hear on May 8 the issue relating to 27per cent quota for OBCs in elite educational institutions.
Describing the court direction as a 'welcome step,' he said "it indicated that the court has understood the implications of this issue which has wide ramifications. I hope the early hearing can lead to a solution to the issue."
Dismissing criticism that his ministry took 'arbitrary'
decision on the IIM admission issue, he said that it was decided by all political parties, including the United Progressive Alliance allies, that the admissions should be put on hold till the matter was resolved.
The minister said that he would consult the prime minister to seek his guidance on how to go about on the issue of non-reserved category while protecting seats for OBCs.
Hectic consultations were held by the minister with his top officials on Tuesday after Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan fixed May 8 for hearing the matter in the Court.
"Some signs of hope are there," he had said, adding, "we will try to resolve it to some extent."
The IIMs have decided to keep on hold admissions to their post graduate programme for the coming academic year till the Supreme Court decides on the quota for OBCs in elite educational institutions.
The elite business schools said they would offer admissions to successful candidates for the 2007 programme only after the impasse over quotas for OBCs is sorted out.