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'The creamy layer issue has to be sorted out'
Prasad Nichenametla
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April 11, 2008

The day Supreme Court upheld the Constitution amendment law providing for 27 per cent quota for Other Backward Classes in IITs, IIMs and other Central educational institutions, Union Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh [Images] says he wants to implement the reservation policy from the academic year 2008-2009.

Are you happy with the decision?

(Smiling) One cannot be completely satisfied or dissatisfied. As it is a decision of the apex court, we have to take it the way it came out. But there are some areas that have to be looked at now.

 Yes, for instance the Supreme Court kept the creamy layer out of coverage, which will exclude many students. What are you proposing to do?

Creamy layer is the issue that has to be sorted out. The decision came just today and we have to go into the details now. The creamy layer is defined in the case of employment, but there is no such clear definition in the sphere of education.

So when will the OBC quota be implemented?

We want to implement the quota policy from the session that is starting now (2008-09).

Will you introduce 27 per cent in the first year? The Oversight Committee chaired by Veerappa Moily had suggested that it could be done over three years because it involved capacity expansion.

Our effort would be to implement the 27 per cent quota from the beginning. The OSC recommendations are only suggestions.

So, are you writing to the central education institutions including IITs and IIMs about what they should do now?

(Laughing) I have been engaged with you people (journalists) all this time. Let the ministry get time to do something now.

You are seen as the person behind the OBC quota issue and in these two years or so you have come under a lot of criticism, not only from the anti-quota lobby but from your own party, even the high command. What is your reaction now?

There was no opposition from the party or the high command. In fact, there was total support from the party president and the Prime Minister in the matter.

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